Gold Coast Little Theatre’s production of American Idiot is raw, angsty and outrageously rocking. Featuring music by iconic 2000s punk-rock band, Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong and a book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, American Idiot is one hell of a nostalgic ride for anyone who came of age in the 2000s. Gold Coast Little Theatre boldly takes on this mammoth of a musical production and emerges triumphant, producing a show that is not only top-notch quality but that feels authentic.
One of the first things that captures the eye is the well-designed set for this show. Created by Stuart Morgan and Lawrie Esmond, the set consists of multiple platforms creating a sense of an urban cityscape that is highly effective. The set is also easily transformed to incorporate the bed of Johnny’s city apartment and to create the bus when Johnny and Tunny travel to the city. The lighting design by Andrew Borg and Stuart Morgan adds another dimension to the atmosphere of the production and effectively supports the action on the stage. For the most part, the sound by Lawrie Esmond and Nick Willner was well-managed with just a few hiccups here and there which are to be expected on preview night.
Directed by the talented Stuart Morgan, the complicated themes of this show are explored in-depth and every stage decision is delivered with intention and a clear conviction which speaks to the vision of this creative, young director. The choreography by Flynn Anderson is absolutely electric and ranges from jumps and flips to emotive contemporary. In particular, the contemporary style used in ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ is perfectly executed and exactly captures the emotions of the moment through dance.
The music direction is split between Ann Sparks for the vocalists and Michelle Watkins for the band and both talented creatives deliver an excellent result. The vocals for the show are polished and each harmony is clear and beautiful. The harmonies create a stark contrast with the songs if you are familiar with Green Day’s traditional punk-rock style. This works really well for the show. The onstage band is absolutely phenomenal and deliver a rocking performance full of punk energy throughout the whole production. The decision to place the band on stage is a great creative choice that added to the rock-show atmosphere.
In the lead role of Johnny, Todd Jesson delivers a fantastic performance that is vocally strong and believable. Jesson’s vocals in such iconic songs as ‘American Idiot’, ‘Holiday’ and ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ are extremely strong and delivered with an edgy punk-rock enthusiasm. Jesson is the perfect choice for this role and plays the angsty Johnny with gusto.
Cat Deller as Johnny’s alter-ego, St Jimmy, is fabulously talented and her vocals are one of the highlights of this production. Deller’s voice is powerful and perfect for this role and she shines throughout. As Will, George Pulley is another excellent vocalist who plays the role with an authentic emotion that underpins every scene.
Jack Harbour as Tunny is the absolute standout performer of this show. Harbour’s vocals are breathtaking and his high harmonies in his duets and trio performances are stellar. Harbour’s convictions are clear and his emotional portrayal of a young man embroiled in war is heartbreaking. Every scene with Harbour is perfection.
As the edgy Whatsername, Becky Morgan is another standout of Gold Coast Little Theatre’s production. Morgan is vocally extremely strong and emotionally just in the right place to show all the layers of Whatsername.
Chloe Smith’s portrayal of Heather is perfectly sweet. Smith is another strong vocalist who hits every note beautifully. Janine Catherwood as Extaordinary Girl is sassy and her delivery of the dream sequence dance is perfectly executed.
The ensemble of this production is extremely strong and it is their energy that elevates the whole show from something great to something extraordinary. The ensemble features a number of standout performers such as Matthew McKenzie as the bus driver and rockstar boyfriend, Johnny Lawler as America’s favorite son. Other standouts in the ensemble include Hunter Wall and Alexander McKenna for their absolute commitment.
Overall, Gold Coast Little Theatre’s American Idiot is a total must-see for anyone who loves Green Day, punk-rock or other early 2000s music. This show features top-notch performers giving 110% on stage and it is not to be missed.
American Idiot will play at Gold Coast Little Theatre until 2 October 2021 and tickets are now on sale through https://gclt.sales.ticketsearch.com/sales/salesevent/12850