Green Day’s American Idiot at the Everyman
Rich and I haven’t been to the theatre together by ourselves. When we have gone in the last few years, it has been to see family shows with the girls. However, tonight we were invited to Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre to see Green Day’s American Idiot. And it did not disappoint.
We both love the Grammy Award winning Green Day album which is now 15 years old!! American Idiot was a concept album and the band described it as a “rock opera”, so I guess it was hardly surprising that it would be turned into a stage production. What did surprise me was just how well the songs actually work as part of a musical. The Selladoor Productions show is celebrating its 10th anniversary and in that time it has won two Tony Awards and the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.
The show stars singer-songwriter Luke Friend (X-Factor), Tom Milner (The Voice and Waterloo Road) and introducing Sam Lavery as Whatsername. The story follows three young, American men and how they react to the aftermath of 9/11. The musical covers the struggle of drug addictions, relationships and purpose within life. The friends plan to leave their home in the suburbs to find themselves, but in doing so, they really lose themselves.
American Idiot is an absolute must if you love Green Day’s music. Despite the album being 15 years old, the songs still feel so relevant today. The TV screens at the start of the show play media coverage of the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack, which inspired the album. 18 years since that event, and with the rise of social media, the lyrics to American Idiot seem to be addressing us now: “Don’t want to be an American Idiot / Once nation controlled by the media / Information age of hysteria / Calling out to Idiot America”
I can only really describe American Idiot as a complete performance. The songs come thick and fast – and they are genuinely brilliant songs – with little dialogue between them. The entire cast give strong performances, and not just in terms of singing and dancing, as most of them also play guitar at some point or another. I have to say that Sam Lavery’s voice is so powerful and emotive that you really feel her rage bubbling through as she sings Letterbomb. Tom Milner really captures the vulnerability as his character Johnny descends into his drug addiction.
American Idiot is running at The Everyman, Cheltenham until 6th July 2019, with tickets costing £22-£32. With strong language and drug references, the show it not suitable for under-14s.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a pair of tickets in exchange for an honest review.