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THEATRE REVIEW | American Idiot – National Tour

★★★☆☆ | American Idiot – National Tour

In a post 9/11 America, three friends go their separate ways to try to find both themselves and where they belong in society. Will stays in suburbia to try and make his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend work, Tunny joins the army and Johnny stays in the city to find friendship but finds a part of himself he never expected. But it doesn’t take long for the American Dream to come crashing down around them as they become increasingly disenfranchised trying to fit into a world where they don’t seem to belong.

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Based on the songs of pop-rock band Green Day, America Idiot presents itself as a sing-through rock opera, where the relentless barrage of songs tells the story and there is little room for any script. The show opens with the title song and, for the first act, literally doesn’t let up from there. Tom Milner (Waterloo Road) as Johnny is a charismatic lead with a performance brimming with cocksure swagger and confidence, whilst Joshua Downen portrays Tunny’s journey from angry young man to war veteran with subtlety.

After exploding onto the stage, the first act is loud, bold, brash, rebellious, angry and exhilarating; and has an unyielding, in your face energy which carries the audience along for the ride, assaulting their senses and reverberating the bass guitar in their chest. However, the second act doesn’t maintain the energy of the first, and as they story grows very dark and the pace slows down, the show loses some momentum.

America Idiot reflects a warts and all portrayal of a recent time in American politics and a biting attack on a divided society which will be recognisable to angst ridden teens; whilst Green Day’s music continues to speak to a generation and still maintains relevance in today’s current political climate.

America Idiot is at the Sheffield Lyceum until 30th March 2019 before continuing on its national tour. The show contains adult themes and strong language.

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