AMERICAN IDIOT by Green Day (DanCap). At the Toronto Centre for the Arts (5040 Yonge). To January 15. $62-$180. 416-644-3665. See Listing. Rating: NNN
Green Day's multi-million-dollar Broadway musical isn't the hard-hitting rock opera you might expect. The problem is that this punk-themed indictment of post-9/11 America is simply dull.
Beyond the amped-up guitar anthems, "punk"-styled choreography and anarchist symbols emblazoned on the tricked-out set, the actual story - about Johnny (Van Hughes), a disaffected suburban kid who explores the gritty underbelly of a big city - doesn't deliver the exciting plot or compelling characters that the cheeky pop-punk trio's work should have generated.
There are some visually interesting moments, many thanks to designer Darrel Maloney's network of 20 video screens scattered around the set and working in tandem. And the cast belt out the band's hit songs with energy and enthusiasm.
But since all we learn about the three main characters (Johnny and his two hometown pals) at the outset is that they hate suburban life, swill beer and communicate through insults, it's hard to care about what happens to them. Later plot points feel rushed.
Steven Hoggett's choreography relies on jerk-off motions, middle fingers and head-banging, which, when performed en masse, look silly and lose their original rebellious meaning.
Instead of an insightful left-field take on our present moment, all we get is a glorified Green Day tribute.