STAGE REVIEW: American Idiot - at the Festival Theatre, Malvern, from Tuesday, February 12 to Saturday, February 16, 2019.

RAW, gritty, most certainly loud and ‘in your face’ heavy metal rock sets the tone for this on the edge, if not over-the-edge musical.

Following much musical experimentation, moving on from their punk rock background, Green Day’s songs offer an insight into the lives of three friends post 9/11…

One stays with his girlfriend - spending his days smoking weed, on his playstation and generally idling, while the second joins the Forces to fight those responsible for the 9/11 attacks - ready to tackle Bin Laden’s fanatical followers.

As for the third, the decision is to take the road to drugs, turning to heroin and eventual addiction.

The main performers delivered both the rock numbers and ballads with equal passion. Indeed the whole cast of actors, singers, musicians and dancers performed with endless vigour and such wholesale enthusiasm.

Tom Milner plays Johnny, who falls for a mysterious girl, oddly named Whatsername (Sam Lavery)… and heroin!

His pals Tunny (Joshua Dowen) and Will (Samuel Pope) just drift along through their apathetic existence. Will discovers his girlfriend is pregnant, then Tunny responds to an Army recruitment advert and heads off to fight the forces of evil.

American Idiot is, at times, grubby and gross and definitely loud, but also energising and imaginative - perhaps more rock opera than a musical.

There are occasions when the language is graphic, considerably crude and coarse, and the action littered with simulated sex.

Possibly a production not for the faint-hearted or those easily offended.

However, all the cast delivered outstanding performances and totally deserved their first night lengthy and vociferous standing ovation from a clearly appreciative Malvern audience.

Special praise too must go to the choreographers Rackey Plews and Blair Anderson.

It must be said this is a musical you will either love or hate!

My colleague loved it…