REVIEW: ‘With a bit more development, could be a smash hit show’ ⭑⭑⭑ Amelie, New Wimbledon Theatre

Getting to watch a brand new musical is like unwrapping an unexpected gift. There is a mixture of excitement and trepidation and some of the thrill is about being part of the process itself. It’s rare to see something new on the quite the scale of the new musical version of Amelie, but this production is so wonderfully extravagant, that just the staging is a feast for the senses.
Based on the 2001 film Amelie follows the fortunes of a girl whose dreamy ideals filter through her whole existence until you’re not sure what is fantasy and what is reality.
It stars AudreyBrisson as the impish and day dreamy Amelie who, gives an incredibly charming performance, which encapsulates the fairytale like qualities of the character perfectly.
Danny Mac provides the brooding love interest Nino, with an equally strong performance and they are ably supported by an excellent ensemble cast of actor/musicians.
The only real issue is that it’s too long. At almost three hours including an interval most audiences will start to get restless before the end and with a portion of the action in act two adding nothing to the flighty story, a good half an hour could really be cut without too much trouble.
That said, this is a stunning production with some mesmerising performances and with a bit more development, could be a smash hit show.

REVIEW: “A punky production that is well worth a watch” ⭑⭑⭑⭑ American Idiot, New Wimbledon Theatre

The 10th Anniversary production of the Green Day musical American Idiot is visiting the New Wimbledon Theatre this week. And with an all-star cast audiences are being treated to a bit of a rock master-class.

First staged on Broadway in 2010, American Idiot is based on Green Day’s Grammy Award winning album of the same name and follows three disillusioned youths trying to find a meaning to their existence following the 9/11 terror attacks. One heads to the big city and immerses himself with the underclass, one joins the army and the other plays house with his pregnant girlfriend.

It’s all very grimy and laddie, with the camaraderie of young men fully played upon including lots of crotch grabbing and head-banging. But with Green Day’s biggest hits forming the soundtrack, you can’t help but be drawn in and even moved by their antics.

Songs like the beautiful “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and the hauntingly apt “When September Ends” take on a real poignance. That is helped by the exuberant and committed young cast led by Tom Milner, who brings a truthful vulnerability to the role of Johnny. He is well matched by the gravelly voiced Luke Friend as St. Jimmy, the exceptional Joshua Dowen as Tunny and the brooding Samuel Pope as Will.

Despite relatively little stage-time, X Factors Sam Lavery also makes an impact as What’s Her Name.

American Idiot isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but with hugely impactful songs performed by such a sensational cast is a punky production that is well worth a watch.

American Idiot is running at the New Wimbledon Theatre until Saturday 18 May.