American Idiot is a year in the life of the dead-beat rocker Johnny. The well-known Green Day songs are transformed into Johnny’s personal thoughts as he tries to survive in the city. Even though I am not the biggest Green Day fan, I was still able to enjoy the opening show on February twenty-first at the Orpheum in Minneapolis.
The biggest part of American Idiot is definitely the music. Van Hughes performed so well that I thought he was the lead singer for Green Day, Billie Joe Armstrong. Like I said before though, I am not a huge Green Day fan so I would be easier to fool. The dancing in the show was nothing special. Most of it was people jumping around and playing air guitars with the occasional middle finger thrown in. Though, I was impressed by Nicci Claspell’s aerial performance. She danced in the air in ways that made me wonder how the chords were still able to keep her up.
Contrasted to Nicci’s dance was the simplicity of the set. Few pieces were needed to convey the scene and the few that were, could be recycled. Many of the set pieces in the show were used multiple times and in different scenes. A couch and a bed were seen throughout the show in different locations. One of the more memorable recycled pieces was a piece of scaffolding. The scaffolding used in one scene as a fire escape and was then flipped over by the cast and used as a bus. This interchangeability is also shown in the backdrop. It had a back-alley feel that fit outdoor scenes and looked like the inside of a grungy, punk apartment. American Idiot is proof that an extravagant set is not needed for an extraordinary show.
Along with the interchangeable set, flashing strobe lights were a main aspect to the show. Although the strobe lights were in place to give the show a more punk feeling, I felt more distracted and uncomfortable with them there. Had the lights been pointed up rather than directly at my eyes, I would have been able to enjoy the show better and not have to look away every time they came on.
Even though the show had uncomfortable strobe lights, I still liked the show. The punk music outweighed the lights and cheesy dancing. I would highly recommend American Idiot if you are a fan of Green Day. If not, you will still be able to enjoy the show but the more you like Green Day, the more you’ll like the show.