The Independent London Newspaper
20th September 2014

Letters

THEATRE: 'Hoodies' of all ages have the time of their lives at Green Day musical

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AMERICAN IDIOT at Hammersmith Apollo

Published: 13 December, 2012

AMERICAN IDIOT at Hammersmith Apollo
by AMY SMITH

THERE are middle-aged people mixing with teens in the Hammersmith Apollo. The strange thing is, they are wearing the same hoodies, linked by their love for the band Green Day. 

At first it might seem incongruous to stage a musical based on an American punk-rock album, but with such unabashed emotion and song titles such as Boulevard of Broken Dreams – why, it’s pure musical territory!

American Idiot is based around the same-titled Green Day concept album released in 2004 and follows the lives of three suburban friends: Johnny, Will, and Tunny, (Alex Nee, Casey O'Farrell and Thomas Hettrick) who dream of escaping the Seven Eleven parking lot. 

All three leads are strong singers and look the part, but their chemistry together was not quite believable. Their different journeys are played out against an impressive set – shopping trolleys carrying TV monitors are stung up with chains against a backdrop of flickering screens. 

It’s easy to see why Christine Jones and Kevin Adams won Tony awards for set design and lighting, respectively. Steven Hoggett uses the typical physical vernacular of “emos” – angry headbanging and nonchalent shrugs – to create impressive and inventive group choreography. 

All three men struggle to find meaning in their lives, Tunny turns to the army only to get lost in a hallucinatory fug, Will attempts to stand by his pregnant girlfriend but struggles in a marijuana daze, and Johnny is determined to become a musician but quickly falls into a heroin-fuelled stupor. 

Parents, this is not an advert for drug use. It is actually anything but. 

I found out afterwards that charismatic St. Jimmy, played perfectly by Trent Saunders, is actually intended to represent Johnny’s Id, but his character also works as the poisonous drug dealer, always slinking around dropping packets of cocaine or helpfully providing a spoon and belt. 

This is definitely not just for fans of the band, but I can promise, you will be humming Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) for weeks to come.

UNTIL DECEMBER 16
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Comments

Incorrect Cast listed

I wish you'd gone to see the show. Or if you actually did, at least read your program. The cast members you listed in this article are not in the show. They were part of the first national tour in the U.S. The cast in the picture & in the show that you saw (or maybe didn't see), are part of the second tour.

Thanks so much for your

Thanks so much for your comment. I definitely did go and see the show but only realised once I got home that I had not been presented with a programme. I tried to find the cast list on the website and couldn't so did some research online and wrongly trusted a source. I'm afraid that I was writing the review late at night as it was to be published online that morning and couldn't call the theatre at that point. This is definitely a lesson to me - I'll never leave a theatre without a program again! So thanks once again for your comment. I will make amends and credit the true performers as soon as possible. Best, Amy

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