In an attempt to convert BGC passersby to theater-goers, 9 Works Theatrical and Globe Telecom partnered up to produce “American Idiot”, a musical based on the 2004 Green Day album of the same name.
It’s an ambitious attempt to say the least. They built an open amphitheater in the middle of BGC Central to accompany the new Globe Iconic Store. To both Globe and 9 Works Theatrical’s credit, the space was the perfect setting for this particular show. After all, the American Idiot musical is far stronger a rock concert than it is a musical theater production.
Three friends feel shackled by their suburban existence. They try to go against the status quo, but circumstances intervened. One becomes trapped by a pregnant girlfriend. The other enlists in the army. The show’s protagonist, Johnny, is the only one who was able to set out to discover himself, but only found love and other drugs. (Literally.)
We endure the ups and downs of their circumstances as well as off tangent subplots told through Green Day songs that weren’t written to tell a story. With what little narrative there is, the three friends do manage to find their way back home and to each other and loose ends are neatly tied in a rousing, saccharine group number.
It’s a short show. There was very little character development for the leads, and the women had none whatsoever. It shouldn’t be surprising, really. The most prominent female characters were literally named ‘Whatsername’ and ‘Extraordinary Girl’.
Of course, the limitations of the book is hardly the Manila production’s fault. Perhaps to distract from the thin plot, Mio Infante and Ga Fallarme’s created quite the stage spectacle while PJ Rebullida developed a highly energetic choreography. As for the cast, director Robbie Guevara assembled an interesting mix of rockstars and theater actors who did right by the real hero of the show: Green Day’s music.
While former Rivermaya vocalist Jason Fernandez’s acting was lacking at best and distracting at worst, his singing voice is a dead ringer for Billie Joe Armstrong. Miggy Chavez of Chicosci, in his theater debut, is perfunctory in his role (to be fair, it wasn’t a very demanding role acting-wise). Seasoned theater actor Nel Gomez, in contrast, proves himself a consistently reliable actor and singer.
As for Wolfgang frontman Basti Artadi, I thought he was well-cast in the featured role of St. Jimmy. He’s not in it much, and he could’ve hammed up his performance a bit more (St. Jimmy is a figment of Johnny’s drug-addled imagination, after all) but he has a raw magnetism that draws your eye whenever he’s on stage. He doesn’t even have to try.
The bombastic staging felt overwhelming and busy, yet added little meat or meaning to the story. But, maybe that’s okay. While it wasn’t a very substantial theater experience, it was still a pretty decent Green Day concert.
The show will run at the Globe Iconic Store until July 10. Were you able to see the show? What did you think?
Photography by Erickson dela Cruz