West End Review: Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ at the Arts Theatre
- OnStage United Kingdom Critic
Sometimes when you see a show it is exactly the same as the original production, everything from the lighting to the make-up. I was happy to say that was not the case with this production. The director/choreographer Racky Plews did an amazing job at creating her own interpretation of American Idiot. Some of the choreography felt a little out of place but overall it was beautifully staged. You could tell that she carefully thought out every step and every moment.
When I went into the theatre I expected to see a recreation of the original set but was surprised to see something different. Designer Sara Perks’ set had the same industrial feel as the original, but had its own elements. The couch sits on its own platform, the set is full of gates like you’d see at a prison, and instead of many TVs scattered throughout the set there was one that was raised and lowered as needed. Aside from one not very well thought out placed strobe, Tim Deiling did an amazing job at the lighting design. It was never too distracting and often added to the mood. I was slightly disappointed with Chris Whybrow’s sound design. At times you couldn’t hear the vocalist over the band.
Newton Faulker lead the cast as Johnny and did an amazing job at it. His vocals and actions were outstanding. His performance did not disappoint. I was slightly disappointed with Alexis Gerred’s performance as Tunny. His acting and emotions were outstanding but his vocals didn’t impress me. Quite often it felt like he was trying to give it a grungry-rock feel which didn’t always work. Matt Thorpe’s performance as Will was amazing. Amelia Lilly as Whatsername and Alice Stokoe as Extraordinary Girl were amazing. They fit the roles perfectly and gave A+ performances. What I loved about this cast is that they were always present and in the moment. You could tell that they had a passion for what they were doing and wanted to give the best performance they could. One ensemble member that stood out to me was Cellen Chugg Jones (Theo). When he was on stage you knew it, and not in a distracting way. His energy was always high, which this show needed.
All in all it was a very well done performance. The one thing I didn’t enjoy was the audience singing along loudly (and even loudly saying some of the jokes before the actors did) but that’s a topic for another article. If you are in the London area I recommend checking it out. It is playing at the Arts Theatre in London until 25 September. Tickets are available at https://www.americanidiotthemusical.co.uk/book