Based on Green Day's career changing 2004 politico-punk rock opera of the same name, this musical was a hit on Broadway when it opened in 2010. Garnering two Tony Awards, Tom Hanks was so impressed that his production company snapped up the rights to adapt it into a feature film. First though, the international tour.
Hailing from suburban nowheresville, three young friends flip between ennui and angst as they struggle to make their way in the world. Will is left behind in their hometown and Tunny joins the army; meanwhile Johnny falls foul of big city temptations and magics up St Jimmy, a character who doubles as Johnny's rock 'n' roll alter-ego-cum-devil on his shoulder.
As a sung-through musical the production relies primarily on songs lifted from the 'American Idiot' LP, plus Green Day's extensive back catalogue to propel the plot forward. Although the first half fizzes with fuzzed up power chords and a riot of air-punching choreography, it also features such excessive amounts of headbanging one fears the US touring cast may suffer a collective aneurysm.
However as the story progresses the high-octane numbers become increasingly surreal and not in a good way. Case in point, after shooting up a load of heroin Jonny and his girlfriend Whatshername (charming!) then utilize the rubber tourniquet as a resistance band in an elaborate dance routine. Cool and edgy it ain't.
Don't go searching for a tidy, overarching message either. The musical's state-of-the-nation commentary through the eyes of the everykid is muddled at best. Nevertheless, if you're a fan of the biggest punk-poppers on the planet, Green Day's tunes are given a slick and invigorating make over here.
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