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Review Roundup: West End's AMERICAN IDIOT

Green Day's explosive award-winning Broadway musical American Idiot opened in the UK on 17 July at The Arts Theatre, Leicester Square. The full cast are Luke Baker (Theo), Natasha Barnes (Heather), Alexis Gerred (Tunny), Llandyll Gove (Gerard), Raquel Jones (Extraordinary girl), Natasha Karp (Alysha) Robyn Mellor (Libby), Lucas Rush (St. Jimmy), Steve Rushton (Will), Aaron Sidwell (Johnny) and Ross William Wild (Favorite Boy). They join the previously announced X Factor star, Amelia Lily who is playing Whatsername.

Let's see what the critics had to say:

Rachel Ward, The Telegraph: Aaron Sidwell, as Johnny, engages the most with his cocky bravado and there's real spark with the X Factor's Amelia Lily as love interest Whatsername, who is wooed by St Jimmy, Johnny's outrageous alter ego who is by his side throughout the second act. Lucas Rush, complete with blond mohican and a dog collar, brings a rollicking campness to the role.

Paul Taylor, The Independent: For the show's West End premiere, though, Racky Plews has directed and choreographed a sharp-witted version that throbs with some of the energy of a rock gig (if minus the feeling of unpredictability) while being shrewdly calibrated to suit the intimacy of the 350-seater Arts Theatre... The sound balance is excellent: you can hear all of Billie Joe Armstrong's lyrics even on the odd occasion when you rather wish you couldn't. Though playing broad-brush archetypes, the performers (especially Aaron Sidwell as Johnny) are able to connect with the audience on a human scale. The quieter moments count for something.

Fiona Mountford, The Standard: Initially I worried that the vitalising fury powering the songs would be dissipated once shepherded into this occasionally constrictive stage format, but this doesn't turn out to be the case. Director/choreographer Racky Plews has her cast generate a fearsome energy that never relents, even when the narrative meanders and eventually outstays its welcome.

Mark Shenton, London Theatre Guide: Too often it passes by as an impressionistic blur rather than a snapshot of a time and place in post- 9/11 America. But Green Day's astonishing rock score is always worth hearing, and under musical director Mark Crossland sounds thrillingly alive. So are the performances of Aaron Sidewell, ALexis Gerred and Llandyll Gove, who are outstanding amongst a large ensemble cast.

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