American Idiot, Edinburgh Playhouse, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Work Light Productions
Michael Mayer (Director), Steven Hoggett (Choreography), Tom Kitt (Arrangements, and Orchestrations)
Alex Nee (Johnny), Casey O'Farrell (Will), Thomas Hettrick (Tunny), Kennedy Haughell(Heather), Alyssa DiPalma (Whatshername), Trent Saunders (St.Jimmy), Jenna Ruball (The extraordinary girl)
Running time

Punk Rock ‘American Idiot’ is like Trainspotting USA - without the wit and local ‘charm’. If you like Green Day’s music then you will enjoy an evening of music and frenetic dance as this Broadway musical arrives in Edinburgh for a short run.

Set with the band onstage, the show is like a rock concert even down to starting over 10 minutes past the already late curtain-up of 8pm. Prior to the start, there were noises off that sounded like the punk rock equivalent of a pre-match Celtic huddle.

Normally, America Idiot’ is a one-act show running for 90 minutes, but this production is a game of two halves. Frankly, I found the first half disappointing and glad that I had done some research to be able to follow what passed for a plot.

It’s about three disaffected young people who decide to seek the excitement of the city: Johnny, the main character and his mates Will and Tunny. In the end Will stays behind with his pregnant girlfriend and Tunny after taking his fill, decides to join the army. Johnny goes on to live the ‘dream’ of a drug-fuelled lifestyle under the influence of St. Jimmy and living with a girl known as Whatshername.

The second half got off to a great start and had more variety of music. Tunny, who lost a leg in conflict, is involved in a beautifully choreographed dream scene with the characters flying above the hospital bed which was the highlight for me and I found myself warming to the show as it came to its climax which had the characters returning home.

Will who stayed in suburbia but did not change his ways lost his girlfriend to another man and was not left unscathed.

As a short show, there is plenty of room to create dialogue to help you get to understand the characters but this opportunity was missed.

While you may have guessed that this show was not my cup of tea, someone I know commented on Facebook that the show was absolutely awesome praising the brilliant ensemble as well as the staging and music.

Opinions often differ according to your own musical taste and experience and if you are Adult, like punk music, flashing lights and life in the raw then it’s for you.

Show times

Runs to 27th October: Monday-Thursday 8pm, Friday 5pm & 8.30pm, Saturday 4pm & 8pm.


£17.50-£43.50 (depending on show time and seats)