"American Psycho," a new musical based on the 1991 Brett Easton Ellis novel has debuted on Broadway. NY1’s Roma Torre filed the following review.
Director Rupert Goold and his creative team took on quite a challenge musicalizing Bret Easton Ellis' satirical novel about a yuppie serial killer who piles up the bodies in 1989 New York. What they've come up with is quite a slickly thrilling production, even as impressive as its hunky leading man - amply endowed with a set of pipes and acting chops to die for.
Benjamin Walker is psycho killer/investment banker Patrick Bateman. He perfectly captures the novel's cynical view of Wall Street's narcissistic consumer culture. The musical's book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa does a fine job balancing the story's dark humor with its deadly serious overtones -
Bateman's world is defined by greed, power and self-image. It is a stereotype for sure but one based on hard truths and if the depiction is not new, Goold's stylized staging, complete with gallons of blood, provides us with a uniquely compelling vision.
That's thanks to a strong collaboration, starting with Duncan Sheik who wisely borrows from the film's soundtrack while adding his own compositions echoing the throbbing chilliness of 80's disco.
The entire technical design team deserves a huge bow. Sets, projections, lights and costumes transport us in time and tone.
Lynne Page's angular choreography nailed the era's robotic dance moves.
And the performances - all spot on. Helene York as Bateman's grotesquely privileged girlfriend and the almost unrecognizable Alice Ripley as Bateman's mom are especially winning. But again it's Walker, an insanely talented performer, who makes the show.
The challenge of mounting “American Psycho” on stage comes from the fact that everyone is so distasteful and de-personalized, we're deprived of any emotional connection to the story. And while I had qualms about the ambiguous ending, it is ultimately faithful to its source. So, yes the characters are unlikeable but thanks to this very savvy production, they're people we love to hate.