Kings Theatre, Portsmouth
Saturday 30 April 2016
Surprise! I know I usually write book reviews, but I recently got to see the theatre production of Green Day’s American Idiot and I simply wanted to write about it. Just a warning: this review has one slight spoiler concerning the running order of the songs in the production.
Holding it together
The biggest risk that comes with translating a rock album into a stage production is over-commercialisation. Yes, American Idiot was a huge-selling, mainstream-appealing album when it was released in 2004, but it’s delicate to many who consider themselves ‘outsiders’.
Some of the choreographic sequences look a bit too glossy, but for the most part this production keeps a tight clutch on the album’s themes of frustration and apathy.
This makes it appealing to theatre regulars and the music fans attracted by the words ‘Green Day’ in the title.
The natural order
The plot mostly follows the content of the songs from the album, and the songs run in the same order as they do there.
Whilst story-wise those songs are pretty beefy already, and make for an easily adaptable narrative, the production could have been more imaginative with its source material.
The songs don’t necessarily need to have the same running order as they do on the album, and who knows what effects the slightest re-shuffle could’ve had. But the inclusion of songs from the 21st Century Breakdown album help bulk up the running time, and don’t feel like last-minute additions.
American Idiot could have been slightly more creative during the adaption process. But it’s an entertaining production that confidently holds on to the defining traits of its source material.