BWW Review: GREEN DAY'S AMERICAN IDIOT at Admiralspalast Berlin - Punk Rock in desperate search of good producers.

BWW Review: GREEN DAY'S AMERICAN IDIOT at Admiralspalast Berlin - Punk Rock in desperate search of good producers.AMERICAN IDIOT was a seminal "comeback album" for Green Day. Released in 2004, it eventually sold 16 million copies worldwide. On the basis of that success, AMERICAN IDIOT was turned into a Musical which debuted on Broadway in 2010. The show was nominated for numerous Tony Awards, eventually winning two, for both scenic-, and lighting design. The Broadway cast album also won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. That was Broadway.

The stripped-down, bare-bones, cheaply-produced touring production that was foisted upon the half-empty Admiralspalast in Berlin last night had almost NOTHING to do with the musical presented on Broadway. Last night's performance was like watching a 3rd-rate, Green Day cover band in a provincial nightclub.

A young, attractive, hard-working cast, had more energy than singing or performance technique. They thrashed and jumped about all evening, to no effect. Not a single performer could make any kind of impression, as it was impossible to follow the story. A 6-piece, onstage band played with the prerequisite aggression that Green Day's music requires, but the sound mix was so poor, that not a single word of the sung text was understandable.

There was a reason that AMERICAN IDIOT won Tony Awards in the technical categories. Green Day's music needs support to tell a story in a theatrical setting. AMERICAN IDIOT has almost no spoken text. As most of the songs have neither melody, orchestration or emotional differentiation to communicate much on their own, they need the support of stage setting, costumes, and dramatic lighting to tell their story, and help the onstage emotion "make the jump" over the footlights.

The producers, Off-Musical Frankfurt, made the tragic error of translating the show into German. To sing punk rock understandably in German requires a vocal technique that was completely absent from the stage last night. These performers were hired for their youth and their looks, not for their singing ability. Perhaps with the well-known, English lyrics, the audience would have had a small chance of following the story. It is impossible to have an opinion about the German translation by Titus Hoffman, as the lyrics were incomprehensible.

The producers also chose to strip the show down to nothing. While that might have made financial sense, it was a fatal decision. There was no set, almost no theatrical lighting, and almost no costumes. The "choreography" and direction both showed a complete lack of imagination and were immediately forgettable. None of these decisions served the musical, the performers or the audience.

If Green Day'S AMERICAN IDIOT is any indication, the days of Off-Musical Frankfurt, as a producing organization, are numbered. Both Green Day and the German audiences deserve much better than what is being offered in this production. The weak ticket sales in Berlin are not a good omen for the upcoming national tour, scheduled to begin in January 2019. The producers would be strongly advised to re-work their entire production before touring with it.

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From This Author Mark Janicello

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