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Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll ... but where's the story?

IT TAKES a special kind of musical to make 'We Will Rock Yo'u look like a masterpiece. And believe me - I wanted to like American Idiot. After all, this is Green Day's American Idiot we're talking about. Or, as some might come to see it, Green Day's Lesson in Bad Decision Making.

But that isn't to say that the source material is to blame for this mess. In fact, the album -- the American punk band's finest moment -- is about the only thing that makes this bizarre little show worthwhile. Obviously. But is it too much to ask that someone might have suggested adding a decent storyline to proceedings?

Let's face it, 2004's American Idiot (the album, not the musical) is a cracking piece of work, but its rock opera status rests solely on a paper-thin plot about a young waster who leaves home, falls out with the world and in love with a chick whose name he can't remember.

It's an angry record, and there are plenty of important messages in there, but it's the memorable choruses and guitar riffs that stand out.

It's all about Johnny (the young waster) and his mates, Will and Tunny. Things get deep (Will becomes a dad, Tunny goes off to war), but not that deep. Instead, this is one of those productions where the creative team doesn't see the harm in skipping the before shots and heading straight for the afters, without actually going into any detail whatsoever. And besides, there's no time for plot explanations when the next Green Day song is but seconds away.

There's a live band involved, and a large cast of pretty young things to help hammer home those important messages I mentioned (war bad, home good, etc.). But even if it is well choreographed, it's also a little embarrassing to watch.

The posters refer to it as the "ground-breaking" Broadway musical. Nonsense. Yes, there are drugs -- and even some sex - but for the most part, American Idiot is merely a vehicle for its youthful cast to make like their favourite Glee stars and run wild with a well-known and much-loved rock album. A shame, really. HHIII

Running until Saturday