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American Idiot (Birmingham)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Green Day have certainly arrived in Birmingham as their Broadway musical 'American Idiot' opened last night at the city's Alexandra Theatre.
With an original American cast reprising their roles, the shows Broadway-esque persona was electrifyingly energetic with an ensemble cast that rock out from start with opening number American Idiot to finish with Time of Your Life.
The majority of the show is sung-through which at times is the perfect way to demonstrate the loud and important message of the show, without taking the time to include dialogue, each lyric in the music is amplified to its full capacity in meaning and importance. Occasionally, however, the missing dialogue leads to somewhat confusion over the plot, albeit not a complicated story to follow a little more narration would help the flow of story progress with more ease.

Playing out the entirety of Green Day’s American Idiot album in a musical theatre style sounds like a bad idea on paper, but seeing the story of the album come to life on stage works brilliantly. The not-so-subtle message of their lyrics and music channels perfectly through the stage adaptation and with adding an acting element to the angry, but through-provoking messages from the lyrics is a perfect outlet.
Leading man Alex Nee is a delight as Johnny. His soft rocky voice is distinctive and whilst suits the rock score provided by Green Day, his musical theatre background is evident in his projections and delivery. The show is worth seeing just for his incredible portrayal.
Thomas Hettrick, as Tunny, challenges his character to a degree that connects with the audience in a unique way during number ‘We Are the Waiting’, allowing the vulnerability of the character to be on display in an emotional and believable manner.

St. Jimmy, an important character, that perhaps is to be interpreted as an imaginary conscience inside Johnny’s head is taken on by energetic Trent Saunders whose performance is loud and brash – perfect for the character.

The technical set is a super achievement. Designed by Christine Jones who won the 2010 Tony Award for her efforts on American Idiot has created a set with projections and videos with Darrel Maloney and a phenomenal lighting design from Kevin Adams that are a pleasure to view.

American Idiot will be playing at the New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham through Saturday December 1.


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