‘As a rock opera, American Idiot is more like Hair than Jesus Christ Superstar or Rent; it’s built on situational concepts and song scenes rather than a thorough narrative, and like Hair it uses rock music to tap into a struggling and stifled generation haunted by war and aimlessness, with lyrics that serve more as statements and ideas than plot drivers.
This is both American Idiot’s greatest asset and its biggest downfall. It can’t flesh out most of its characters, especially its women, beyond broad strokes, and its ending can seem abrupt or underexplored without extremely precise direction. But it’s open enough to interpretation that it engages any audience, allowing them the space to project their own dissatisfaction on to the characters. And its music is strong enough to hold you in its thrall: you want to descend with these characters, even when they’re barely formed.’ … READ MORE