AMERICAN PSYCHO: A new musical thriller.
book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik.
Almeida Theatre Almeida Theatre Islington N1 1TA To 1 February 2014.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat & 23, 27, 30 Dec, 2,3,8, 15, 22, 29 Jan, 2.30pm, 29 Dec 5pm.
no performance 24-26 Dec, 1 Jan.
Audio-described 11 Jan 2.30pm (+ Touch Tour 12.45pm).
Captioned 10 Jan, 18 Jan 2.30pm.
Runs: 2hr 45min One interval.
TICKETS 020 7359 4404 (24 hours).
Review: Carole Woddis 13 December. SOLD OUT. DAY TICKETS (from 11am) OR RETURNS ONLY.
Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho divided readers when it was first published in 1991 and will no doubt continue to do so. A random survey amongst my women friends revealed no one who could finish reading it, so horrific and detailed Ellis’s description of the misogyny and mutilations carried out by its `anti-hero’, Patrick Bateman.
The novel subsequently became a cult hit, followed by the film directed by Mary Harron and starring Christian Bale.
Now Rupert Goold, the newly appointed Almeida supremo, has turned it into a musical and for once – how often can this be said? – justifies the reworking.
American Psycho the musical – with book, music and lyrics by Americans Robert Aguirre-Sacasa and Duncan Sheik respectively – is a great, big walloping triumph with ‘transfer’ written all over it. And not just because Ellis’s violence has been sanitised into accessibility and Patrick is played by the unstoppable, former Dr Who, Matt Smith, now sporting a very handsome pair of pecs in line with his character’s narcissism.
Chainsaws and axes do still make their appearance. But if ever it were true that more is less, Goold’s high gloss, stylised production bears it out. The message gets through without gratuitous blood and gore.
From the moment, the cast appear down aisle, singing `we’re sinners and winners’, Goold’s team – especially choreographer Lynne Page – contrive to satirise and dissect the tropes of contemporary consumerism and its money, style and status addictions with unerring brilliance.
If there are shows with more brand checks, I don’t know them. In a riveting set of sardonic numbers, New York, its banks, restaurants, fashion chic and gym fascisti are sent up and set beside Bateman’s murderous actions to highlight the emptiness at the heart of late 20th century capitalism.
As Smith’s Bateman, staring into his own moral abyss, concludes “This is what it means to be Patrick Bateman. I simply don’t exist”.
Smith plays Bateman with an icy, detached glaze that is matched by a superb cast in which Susannah Fielding as Evelyn, Patrick’s fiancée and Simon Gregor as a Columbo-style detective are outstanding. Bloody and marvellous.
Paul Owen: Ben Aldridge.
Craig McDermott: Charlie Anson.
Tim Price: Jonathan Bailey.
Courtney Lawrence: Katie Brayben.
Jean: Cassandra Compton.
Sabrina: Holly Dale Spencer.
Evelyn Williams: Susannah Fielding.
Detective Kimball: Simon Gregor.
Christine: Holly James.
Victoria: Lucie Jones.
Sean Bateman: Tom Kay.
Mrs Bateman: Gillian Kirkpatrick.
David Van Patten: Eugene McCoy.
Luis Carruthers: Hugh Skinner.
Patrick Bateman: Matt Smith.
Director: Rupert Goold.
Designer: Es Devlin.
Lighting: Jon Clark.
Sound: Paul Arditti.
Orchestrator: Duncan Sheik.
Vocal Arrangements: David Shrubsole, (‘In the Air Tonight’) Jason Hart.
Musical Director: David Shrubsole.
Video: Finn Ross.
Choreographer: Lynne Page.
Costume: Katrina Lindsay.
Dialect coach: Richard Ryder.
Fight director: Kate Waters.
Associate designer: Chiara Stephenson.
Associate choreographer: Rebecca Howell.
Associate sound: Rob Bettle.
Associate video: Adam Young.
Assistant director: Whitney Mosery.
A co-production with Headlong in association with David Johnson and Jesse Singer for Act4 Entertainment, by special arrangement with Edward R Pressman.
World premiere of American Psycho: A new musical thriller Almeida Theatre 3 December 2013.