Having opened the show in Sydney to stellar reviews, Green Day’s American Idiot production is en route to The Comedy Theatre from February 23. A concept developed by Green Day’s lyricist Billie Joe Armstrong and Tony Award winner Michael Mayer, the show has amazed audiences with its innovation and modernity. What can only be described as an expressionist production, the show explores the irritations, terrors, desires and hurdles that followed 9/11 in a media soaked society. In chatting to Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson, we learn of how he’s been thrown into the world of theatre and why he’s loving every minute of it.
Hey Phil! Thanks for chatting with Forte. We all know and love you from Grinspoon. You’re a natural performer, but theatre is a different kettle of fish. How have you found it so far?
It’s been very challenging but also pretty rewarding actually. I’ve found a lot of fun in it. I’ve learnt heaps, bucket loads of how to do stuff and how not to do stuff, so that’s been really good as well. When I accepted the role, I didn’t think much at all, I just said yes to it and dealt with the consequences later. As I was learning the part, I realised it was going to be a lot more challenging than I first envisioned. I think I wasn’t prepared for the nerves. Being in a cast with 15 other people, we’ve all got to row the boat together. It is nerve racking in the sense that you don’t want to let anyone down, so you put a bit of pressure on yourself. The singing is one thing which is challenging enough but then there’s the movement and the getting into the character, whilst also not forgetting to get on stage.
The production has already been so successful with the Aussie cast. Did you expect it to take off as well as it has?
Well no, we did a production in February/March in Brisbane for three weeks or something, and that was great and we thought that was the end of it. It was a success in Brisbane so we ended up touring it. I’m not really that surprised because it’s a really good show. In essence, how they’ve done it, it should be a hit.
What does the storyline of the production mean to you as an individual in music?
The relevance of the story is that it’s a coming of age musical right, so three young people living in USA confused by the media and the over saturation of their lives. They want to get out and find something better than jingle town. I guess in some ways I see some of that disillusion coming from a small town myself. When I was growing up, there wasn’t a media saturation like there was 15 years ago or like there is now. I can definitely see similarities in just the falling in and out of love and making mistakes. Basically this narrative goes over a period of a year, it starts on February the 2nd and ends a year later. It just goes to show that stuff can happen really quickly within a year, so many changes can happen within a young person’s life… I hate that word… “young person.” Anyone who’s kind of trying to find themselves on a different path finds that stuff can be accelerated very quickly within a year.
What can you expect from the Melbourne audience?
Oh, it’s Australia’s greatest city! The Comedy Theatre is going to be perfect for this show so that suits it really well. I love Melbourne, it’s my favourite city in Australia so yeah, I’m looking forward to it immensely.
Win a pass to see the Australian production of Green Day’s American Idiot on Tuesday February 27.
Featuring Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson, multi-ARIA Award winner, singer/songwriter and guitarist Sarah McLeod from The Superjesus and nationally-acclaimed singer/songwriter and guitarist Adalita from Magic Dirt, Green Day’s musical channels the grungy spirit of punk while also plucking at the heartstrings.
For your chance to win a pass, email your name, phone number and code word ‘GREEN DAY’ to firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Hannah Kenny
Image by Ken Leanfore