Deliciously disturbing: American Psycho


80s synth-pop, Matt Smith, and a musical adaption of one of Daisy Bartlett’s favourite books of all time: what more could a gal want?


I had this kind of morbid fascination with Bret Easton Ellis’ masterpiece, finding myself intrigued at the prospect of hearing the innermost thoughts of a serial killer. Although I found myself pulling a grimace on a train whilst reading that scene with the rat, there was something deliciously disturbing about the whole thing.

Now the film was another story – I just hate blood and gore. It’s one thing reading it on the pages of a book, but seeing it acted out on the big screen was just too much. So I was one slightly skeptical viewer when we headed to the Almeida Theatre to see the musical adaptation of American Psycho.

Safe to say I was certainly wrong to have been apprehensive! Director Rupert Goold decides to focus on the internal thoughts of Patrick Bateman (Matt Smith), with all the murders being portrayed through clever scarlet lighting and music, rather than any actual blood. Smith has the wonderful ability to appear strangely emotionally vacant while still making the character completely believable.

Also, rather unexpectedly, the play was filled with deadpan humour, which only added to the continuing relevance of the satirisation of the material culture surrounding us. As much as we might want to cast aside the consumerism from the 80s, this production simply reminded me of the omnipresence of the ‘it-girl’ culture that seems to be particularly prevalent with the rise of social media: having next season’s handbag or shoes, or having been to that hot new eatery before anyone else.

Aside from the particularly ridiculous music and dance number about the intricacies of the business card, which was certainly worthy of the laughter it produced, the soundtrack was fantastic. The score mixed songs by the Human League and Huey Lewis and the News along with original compositions. Matt Smith’s rather monotonous singing voice actually worked incredibly well, perfectly fitting Bateman’s vapid character. However, for me the real star of the show was Bateman’s secretary, Jean (Cassandra Compton), whose singing was one step above the rest of the cast.

Tickets may have sold out at the Almeida, but if you find yourself free at 11 one morning, it’s definitely worth queuing up for a day release ticket. Alternatively, there’ll undoubtedly be a transfer to the West End in the works, so keep your eyes peeled and grab tickets for this at the first possible opportunity.

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