American Idiot ran until 22 November at Arts Theatre London and will tour the UK from March-June 2016 (photo: Darren Bell)
UK - "If you could power a production by the passion of the cast, musicians and crew, then this show should be unstoppable," was how Naomi Symeou described the enthusiasm of the creatives and technicians responsible for bringing Green Day's musical American Idiot to the stage of the Arts Theatre in Leicester Square.

Naomi is the general manager of Sell a Door and supports owners and show producers David Hutchinson and Phillip Rowntree. "Everyone involved in the show lives and breathes the music and it created a real buzz of excitement in-house, simply at the privilege of being able to work on such a passion project. I often think we should have a competition to discover who is the biggest fan, there would be a lot of contenders."

The original and inspiring lighting design is by established theatre lighting designer Tim Deiling, himself a massive Green Day enthusiast who happily confessed to becoming quite emotional when director Racky Plews approached him with the intention of bringing the show to a London stage. "I grew up listening to this band and these songs, I memorised the lyrics from the cd insert and knew that it would make the most amazing musical. I'd seen the show on Braodway which was amazing, I doubt I could ever get bored of this music," Tim said.

Naomi added, "Racky and Tim are both avid Green Day fans, there is no story from their teenage years that doesn't have a Green Day soundtrack attached. Their passion is contagious and we quickly realised we wanted to find a team full of superfans."

Although telling the same story as the Broadway production, London's American Idiot has no ties to its North American cousin, which means Tim has had complete creative control over how the show is lit.

Due to the limited number of seats in the theatre, a restricted budget was another challenge for Tim to work around. He explained: "Because we didn't have a never-ending budget to spend, I learnt about some great products PRG XL Video have which I never knew existed before; like the BB4s, which sit at the back of the set and work as light curtains but do so much more as well. They have a real retro look about them and are more Green Day than I could ever have imagined."

Speaking of his relationship with PRG XL Video, Tim said, "John Pauls is amazing, he completely warmed my heart when he could see how much this show means to me and I thank him so much for that because this show could never be what it is today without the flexibility and support of PRG."

Tim chose to use Gantom 1 LED pin spots and located 48 of them at various points around the set. "I use them to do lots of fun, rock n roll beam effects, the great thing about them is that they're so small we've been able to hide them on the floor or behind bits of set." He stressed the importance of his close working relationship with set designer Sara Perks; during a walk around the set, you realise how many tiny lighting solutions are wired into the framework of the set, as well as six Martin Atomic strobes, cleverly hidden behind mesh panels. With the absence of any followspots, Tim uses two Clay Paky Alpha 700s out front, he explained, "They do lots of things during the show, one of which is lots of spotty, spotty stuff."

Account manager John Pauls handled the show from PRG XL Video's perspective and was immediately struck by the energy driving it. "I met Tim in our Covent Garden office when we first discussed American Idiot and was blown away by his vision for the show. There were the usual budgetary barriers to overcome, but he was open to all the suggestions to help realise his design. The solid commitment of the cast and crew shines through in the show, which has been a thorough success at the Arts Theatre and will be heading out on a UK tour next year."

(Jim Evans)

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