Within the intimate confines of the Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham audiences were treated to the raucous sounds of Green Day, as Old Joint Stock Theatre Company presented American Idiot.
Having already played to sell-out audiences for over a week, it is clear to see why this show is one not to miss. The undeniable talent on stage (and behind the scenes) results in a professionally polished production.
Through Green Day’s music, the audience are taken on a nostalgic journey through the early 00s. An eclectic group of characters set the scene, with Johnny (Jesus of Suburbia), Will and Tunny driving the plot.
Green Day originally wrote the American Idiot album as a response to the reality of a post 9/11 world, effectively depicted in the rapidly cut video footage at the beginning of the show, it then instantly bursts into the familiar American Idiot opening and the entire ensemble fill the space. With impressive vocals from the outset, the audience know they are in good hands with this company.
Johnny, played with gritty determination by a vocally pleasing Gavin Whichello, is the main protagonist longing to escape suburbia. Along with his friends Will and Tunny they are set on leaving their hometown, but there’s many an obstacle along the way. As they break into the five-movement number, Jesus of Suburbia, Will discovers his girlfriend is pregnant and is left behind as Johnny and Tunny head for the city. Tunny was played in earnest by Roddy Lynch. The rich tone of his voice complemented the gravelly tones of Whichello, then adding in the strong, powerfully anguished voice of Nicholas Tuck (Will) they were a formidable trio as they tackled the iconic Green Day soundtrack.
Along the way we are introduced to a variety of different characters, from the Favourite Son who drives Tunny to join the army, to St Jimmy, the tormentor. Richard Haines as Favourite Son made a suitably suave cameo, with vocals to match, contrasted to that was the brash manipulator St Jimmy, expertly played by Adam Carver. His stage presence was continually felt throughout the show.
There were also pleasing vocals from Elle Knowles as Will’s girlfriend Heather and with the addition of choreography from Sarah Haines, the show moved along at a swift pace. However, some of the most impressive vocals of the night came from Alanna Boden as Whatsername, with 21 Guns and Letterbombs standing out in particular.
A certain highlight was Holiday with harmonies that made the spine tingle and as the show came to a close, the band took to the stage amongst the cast, as they performed an optimistic rendition of Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).
This was not just a strong principal cast; every single person in the show played their own role and more than did it justice. Under the accomplished direction and musical direction of Richard Haines and Adam Carver, Old Joint Stock Theatre Company continually deliver the highest quality performances.
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