Resident amateur theatre company Sedos are back, this time with the famous jukebox musical / concept album American Idiot. Written by Billie Joe Armstrong and with book by Michael Mayer, the musical has had previous runs on Broadway and in the West End. The show is also popular with many amateur groups and school productions, most probably due to its funky characters and rockin’ music.
Such popularity doesn’t necessarily mean that it is an easy show to put on though, and first credit must go to the band for this particular production, led by Oscar Denihan; they really rock out, at times with flair, superbly keeping up with the tricky score.
Sedos have assembled a troupe of 17 performers for the show, so we’d expect a whole load of energy. This is exactly what we get as the whole ensemble fill the stage for the first song, which happens to be the title number. Overall, the production begins to flag midway through, but one cannot take away from the effort and commitment of the cast; they left it all on the stage! Additionally, choreographer Jen Bullock makes a great impression with inventive and slick routines.
Heather Daniel, who plays Heather and Joshua Yeardley, who plays Will both have strong and well-suited voices for their parts. Stand out performances come from George Langdown in the role of Tunny and Alice Signell, who is part of the ensemble and unsurprisingly the dance captain too. Both have excellent vocals and characterisation. Praise also to the artwork and marketing of Tess Robinson for the very cool and appropriate programme.
Sadly, the production really didn’t meet the mark in terms of storytelling. We also had actors being odly backlit (unable to see their faces or expressions) whilst singing, and the small amount of dialogue the play has was lost through audio issues or poor diction. A breath or a moment of pause would have been very much appreciated and effective amongst the high pace music and intensity of the plot. Sometimes, as an audience member, one might have felt forgotten about. Sedos’ American Idiot is a night of hard-working performers having a good time; but all productions have a duty to their audience to make sure we are clear what is going on and can enjoy the action too.
That being said, this production of American Idiot still has the rage, energy and rock that you’d expect from this show, and the music alone is worth the price of a ticket.
Directed by: Matt Bentley
Musical Direction by: Oscar Denihan
Choreography by: Jen Bullock
Set Design by: Andrew Laidlaw
Costume Design by: Clare Harding
Lighting Design by: Olly Levett
Sound Design by: Adam Coppard
American Idiot plays at Bridewell Theatre until 14 May. Further information and bookings can be found here.