‘Id­iot’s’ youth­ful en­ergy a boon

Los Angeles Times - - CULTURE MONSTER - By F. Kath­leen Fo­ley

In re­cent years, DOMA Theatre Com­pany has gained renown for crack pro­fes­sional pro­duc­tions of Broad­way mu­si­cals. No ex­cep­tion to that trend, the group’s cur­rent pro­duc­tion, “Green Day’s Amer­i­can Id­iot” at the MET, is Broad­way­cal­iber in al­most ev­ery par­tic­u­lar — a tri­umph of in­ge­nu­ity over the con­straints of a small theater.

How­ever, all the raz­zle and daz­zle of this con­sum­mate stag­ing can’t dis­tract from the lim­i­ta­tions of the ma­te­rial. Green Day’s rock opera al­bum turned mu­si­cal, with lyrics by front­man Bil­lie Joe Arm­strong, pro­vides the per­fect for­mat for a group of vir­tu­osic per­form­ers to ex­er­cise their pre­co­ciously pro­fes­sional chops.

In­deed, their sheer youth­ful en­ergy sus­tains the ex­cite­ment for a large part of the ac­tion, but it soon be­comes ap­par­ent that the book, by Arm­strong and Michael Mayer, the direc­tor who shaped the Broad­way show, is on par with a high school girl’s goth po­etry, too thin a frame­work to sup­port the weight of such head­bang­ing and gen­er­al­ized angst. Then again, ah, youth.

The sopho­moric plot con­cerns three best friends — dis­af­fected sub­ur­ban youths who take rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent paths to adult­hood. Johnny (Jess Ford) opts for the big city, falls in love with What­ser­name (Re­nee Co­hen) and is lured into ad­dic­tion by flashy punker St. Jimmy (An­drew Diego). Tunny (Chris Ker­ri­gan) also leaves home and quickly joins the mil­i­tary, where he is griev­ously wounded. Will (Wes­ley Mo­ran) re­mains be­hind upon learn­ing that his girl­friend Heather (Jac­kee Bianchi) is preg­nant.

John Ia­cov­elli’s scenic de­sign, Jean-Yves Tessier’s light­ing and Julie Fer­rin’s sound are all wor­thy of spe­cial men­tion, but Michael Mullen’s glitzy-goth cos­tumes stand out amid the su­perb de­sign el­e­ments. Direc­tor Marco Gomez, chore­og­ra­pher An­gela To­daro and mu­si­cal direc­tor Chris Ray­mond de­liver the goods, and the ter­rific per­form­ers sweep us up in their com­mit­ment. Fu­ture head­lin­ers all, they take a lemon of a story and brew up some­thing close to am­brosia.

cal­en­dar@la­times.com

Michael La­mont

AN­DREW DIEGO por­trays f lashy punker St. Jimmy in “Green Day’s Amer­i­can Id­iot” at the MET.

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