Punk rock in a musical? It’ll never work, will it?
A crowd of mostly Green Day fans mingled with the odd ‘regular theatre goer’, filling almost every seat at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre for the European première of the smash hit musical that took Broadway by storm.
A musical with a full American cast – so I went fully prepared for a bit of cheese, fearing Glee-like versions of Billie Joe Armstrong’s songs. But, despite the odd grating – American Idiot – The Musical is far from cheesy and it’s not Glee-like at all (although some fans may argue that!) It tells the story of three lifelong friends, forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia in a post 9/11 world.
Two of the friends, Johnny and Tunny, head to the big city to chase their dreams whilst the third, Will, is stuck at home after getting his girlfriend pregnant; he eventually finds himself turning to drink and drugs. Fed up of constantly sleeping and watching TV, Tunny joins the army – but becomes a casualty and loses a leg. Johnny finds a new friend in dodgy dealer St Jimmy and develops a smack addiction. The friends eventually all meet up again, having had “the time of their life” (or not, as the case may be!)
Expect a lot more swearing than your average musical, a live band on stage, choreographed moshing and crowd surfing (that occasionally gets a bit repetitive with a bit too much head banging) and a huge urge to sing along. Southampton crowds are sometimes shy when it comes to giving standing ovations – but tonight’s crowd were immediately up on their feet when the entire cast came out to perform ‘Good Riddance -Time of Your Life’ for the touching encore.
Punk rock in a musical? American Idiot definitely works.
American Idiot runs until Saturday, 13 October 2012, tickets available here: