Last night I went to see The Theatre Royal’s latest offering- the opening night of ‘American Idiot’, the Green Day musical. It’s a musical I actually wasn’t familiar with. I went in with fairly low expectations, as I’d heard a lot about the flawed plot. Here are my thoughts…
Once again, when I got sent the press release and saw not only one but TWO x factor stars on it, I rolled my eyes a little bit. I give everyone a fair chance but I personally prefer to see drama school graduates and musical theatre trained performers on the stage. Luke Friend, who came 3rd on X Factor in 2013, played St Jimmy. I have to say, he had the perfect look and voice for this energetic role and pulled it off really well! It’s, fortunately, one of those musicals where a more rock/pop voice is appreciated.
Although all the supporting members were amazing, the 2 that stood out the most to me were Siobhan O’Driscoll, playing Heather, and Samuel Pope who played Will. Siobhan, who was making her professional debut (CONGRATS!) had such a wonderful voice and I really wish we could have heard more from her. Sam’s voice also stood out to me- the perfect balance between a controlled musical theatre timbre and a rock edge. I actually saw him on the tour of All or Nothing and he was amazing in that also.
Another X Factor star in this cast was Sam Levery. I actually do not watch the programme as I get really angry so I didn’t know who she was! She was stunning and had the perfect look to play whatsername, the female lead. Being completely honest, I don’t think her voice is strong enough for the lead role and I hope she can sustain throughout the tour. She had a lovely tone, however, so I might check out some of her original stuff! I would have really liked to have heard a more vulnerable side to her voice in 21 guns, instead of a belt.
ACTING/STORYLINE(or lack of)
So props to the actors for keeping me entertained through what was a very flawed plot. Not going to lie, the writing of this show is pretty awful. I’d just like to add that my views on the storyline do not reflect my opinion on the actors at all- they didn’t write it. As it’s a jukebox musical, I found they were REALLY trying to cram into as many Green Day songs as possible, not caring if they added to the musical or not. Most songs were highly unnecessary and I think the show could have benefited from an additional moment of dialogue instead. I pretty much ended up viewing this as a rock concert, with a loose theme. It starts by showcasing 3 mates, who all want to leave their shitty town. One guy joins the army, one stays at home with his pregnant girlfriend and one gets in trouble with drugs. That’s pretty much it- no major plot twists.
I did really enjoy the acting and the characterisation from this show. The lead, Tom Milner, did a great job of portraying a heroin addict- keen to not overplay the whole thing. They all did a great job of engaging the audience and having a lot of fun on stage. In terms of direction, I feel some of the comedy was overdone. The sex gags and laddy banter was so funny at the start but the novelty wore off quick. Also, for anyone who knows the show, what the hell is the point in the character extraordinary girl? That felt very forced.
If you like Green Day, you’ll love this. The band were incredible and the music was so feel good- it will really take you back. My only tip is to go into it not expecting groundbreaking storyline. I did have a good night and was entertained throughout. The set, costume and lighting were insane as always. I’m also always so impressed with the sound quality at Theatre Royal- so crisp and perfect. Thank you to Theatre Royal for having me, I’m looking forward to seeing what else you have to offer! Buy tickets here.