American Psycho at the Almeida
American Psycho is, undoubtedly, a cult classic. Avid readers took quickly to debate the controversial lifestyle of the iconic Patrick Bateman after the book was first released in 1991. The critically acclaimed film that followed gave way to another wave of Bret Easton Ellis fans after Christian Bale embodied the beloved psychopath just nine years later. To this day, American Psycho is a book (and film) adored by many, and with the announcement of an American Psycho musical earlier this year, it was a safe bet to assume that these fans went completely psycho at the news.
What begins as a near-deafening sound and light spectacle as the lights dramatically dim soon turns quickly into the first number, with Bateman ( Matt Smith ) front and centre with a tanning bed and face mask, detailing his arduous skincare routine. The cast move effortlessly in contrast to Bateman as he dons the signature suit of the Wall Street yuppie, whilst he intricately describes his dapper get-up.
Unlike a vast majority of shows in the West End, the music featured throughout the entirety of the performance is electronic, which, coupled with the violent and harsh lights and vicious atrocities Bateman commits, provides for an all-encompassing experience like no other.
As the mental demise of Bateman is explored with an extensive litter of profanity, murder, drug abuse, and more murder – and not to mention a hint of racial slurs – the indubitable Matt Smith brings an entirely unexplored facet of Pat Bateman to the stage that is completely and utterly indescribable, including a formidable set of dulcet vocals.
American Psycho, it cannot be denied, is far more similar to the film than the original book. Although it goes without saying that the 2000 adaptation removed many a brutal scene from the abundance presented by Ellis, American Psycho could have been fleshed out slightly more if it featured scenes that didn’t make it to the film. This adaptation of Ellis’ work, it seems, has many a hat off moment to the more die-hard fans of the book, with renowned quotes splattered throughout. This slight “censoring”, if you will, does not take away from the final product of the show, and in turn keeps a closer relationship to the adaptation than to the original novel. American Psycho, above all else, is the show to see this season.
American Psycho runs at the Almeida Theatre until February 1st 2014, with day seats and returns being released every day. For further information, visit their website here.
Listen to director Rupert Goold and composer Duncan Sheik discuss American Psycho here: