Review: American Idiot at The Lichfield Garrick

Director: Oliver Rowe

Book: Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer

Music: Green Day

Lyricist: Billie Joe Armstrong

The Lichfield Garrick’s Youth Theatre broke the mold when they decided to produce American Idiot as their latest production. With a plot centered on the struggles of American Youth post 9/11, including strong references to sex and drugs and pact full of songs from Green Day’s American Idiot album it was certainly a risk and not your standard Youth Theatre production.

Luckily for Director Oliver Rowe he has found an incredibly talented cast that could rival any professional company. Hats off to Chris Buckle, Elliot Lolley and Dominic Sterland who nailed the energy, emotion and vocal standards this production requires to keep the audience engaging and emotionally behind their characters of Jonny, Tunny and Will as they strive for motivation in life.

The emphasis in this production are on the lyrics of Green Day’s songs rather than the spoken word in this politically motivated musical. The production flows song to song almost as if each one was written especially for the musical. Comparisons can be drawn to Rent as we see the true realities of certain areas of America’s youth such as the pressures of the media. The cast don’t seem to be phased with these different topics and fully and emotionally commit to the parts they play which lead to some very intense scenes especially as Jonny starts to deliberate the point of life itself.

Supporting the leads are an ensemble full of enthusiastic and passionate youths who execute Jessica Lambert’s choreography with precision and focus with vocal abilities to match. They all add an extra layer to the staging of various musical numbers including 21 GunsLetterbomb and of course the title song itself, American Idiot.

This new production by the Lichfield Garrick’s Youth Theatre has the casting and production values that could rival the professionals with their incredible talent and commitment. Theatres around the country are full of Jukebox musicals but American Idiot is something more than your normal musical. The show itself takes Musical Theatre into a new league with it’s grimy and dark themes within it’s narrative and it’s powerful songs.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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