Liam Rudden: Pop-punk Les Mis rocks the Playhouse

ADMISSION time. I’d never heard of Green Day before the announcement that the musical version of their concept album American Idiot was to visit the Playhouse. It’s there all this week.

Too old I reckon, they just slipped under my radar, although I’ve since realised that I have indeed heard a couple of their songs on the radio – just never known who performed them.

In fact, I’d planned to give Monday’s press night a swerve until, just for the hell of it, I found myself listening to the album on YouTube.

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Call it research. My colleague Gary Flockhart had attended the opening night of the tour in Southampton and come back raving about the show. Not like him, it piqued my curiosity.

I’m glad it did. Early U2 and Manic Street Preachers came to mind as I listened. I loved it. So much so that it’s now the most listened to download on my mobile.

Consequently, the only place to be on Monday night was the Playhouse, where a brilliant ensemble cast, led by the elfin-like Alex Nee, tore through the album and more.

A concept album, American Idiot charts the lives of three youths living very different interpretations of the American dream – a stay-at-home dad, a junkie and a soldier.

The story unfolds through the songs on a dark, functional set, littered with plasma screens, and housing a live band that meld beautifully into the action.

Explosive choreography, blistering vocal performances and simple storytelling make this rock opera the biggest show in Edinburgh right now – imagine a Les Miserables for the post-grunge generation.

So, if you like your music loud and aggressive, check out what it takes to be an American idiot with this slice of pop-punk at the Playhouse, until Saturday.