Liam Rudden: There’s nothing shoogly about this American Idiot

Shoogly Peg's American Idiot company
Shoogly Peg's American Idiot company
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GREEN Day were in the news this week their Glasgow gig was cancelled at the last minute. However, there’s a chance for Capital fans of the US rockers to relive some of their best known songs next week when Shoogly Peg bring their new production of American Idiot to The King’s.

The sung-through stage adaptation of the punk band’s rock opera of the same name, American Idiot opened on Broadway in 2009.

It tells the story of three disaffected youths, Johnny, Will and Tunny.

As Johnny and Tunny flee their middle class life in search of excitement, Will is ‘trapped’ at home with his pregnant girlfriend Heather.

Soon, however, Johnny and Tunny’s dreams have turned into nightmares as Tunny joins the army and is shipped off to war, and Johnny descends in a hell of drugs and addiction.

Told using songs from the original American Idiot concept album, and beefed up with tracks from the album 21st Century Breakdown and When It’s Time, a song written for the musical, the musical won a brace of Tony Awards when it opened.

To be honest, it was this musical that introduced me to Green Day when the original UK tour called at the Playhouse in 2012.

The tale of the three pals was compelling but it was another character that stood out, the psychotic drug dealer St Jimmy.

That production was a big deal. With a decent budget, the staging was spectacular and the sound everything you would expect - blasting, driving and adrenalin fuelled. It rocked its way straight into my Top 5 favourite musicals.

So when Sell a Door announced their London production at the Arts Theatre in 2015, a trip South was called for... that American Idiot turned out a very different beast.

An more intimate, fringe-style venue, it was far more raw. The young cast powered through the piece, clambering around the scaffold-like staging with exhausting energy.

It was in this production that the full potential of St Jimmy was realised by Lucas Rush. Effortlessly engaging and suavely sinister, he stole the show.

I was reminded of all this when I popped into a rehearsal for Shoogly Peg’s production.

The 54 strong cast, aged 16 to 25 may not be American and they are certainly not idiots, but they are insanely talented.

The sheer power of their collective voices rocking out tracks like Jesus of Suburbia, Dearly Beloved and Boulevard of Broken Dreams was palpable.

Brilliant. Make sure you don’t miss them next week.

American Idiot, King’s Theatre, Wednesday & Thursday, 2.30pm & 7.30pm, £17-£19.50, 0131-226-0000