American Psycho – The Musical
Sydney Opera House
June 8, 2021
I have always enjoyed Bret Easton Ellis’ oeuvre and was specifically delighted when American Psycho was on the literary canon for one of my courses on U- and Dystopian Literature.
Given the greatness of Ellis’ character study of Patrick Bateman and his descent into a world devoid of empathy, it was hard for the 2000 movie incarnation to live up to it as the limitations of the medium resulted in a lack of nuances and depth.
When I learned that a musical was to be staged in 2013, I was intrigued and jumped on the opportunity to see it first-hand at Sydney’s Opera House after having missed its initial incarnation on terra australis at the Hayes Theatre in 2019.
Centred around greed, debauchery, sexism, hedonism and narcissism , the Australian stage adaption of American Psycho has been toned down quite a bit, with the more graphic details of the novel having been channelled into satirical territory rather than relying on excessive shock value.
Lead actor Ben Gerrard does a stellar job stripping the layers of cool aspiration from Patrick Bateman to portray him as the anxious, uncool pitiful creature Bret Easton Eliis originally created.
The rest of the charismatic cast manages to engage the audience from the get go and both the sharp choreography courtesy of Yvette Lee, direction by Alexander Berlage and especially the spinning mirrored set design and lighting are aesthetically and visually brilliant.
A well-executed, deceptively entertaining dark humoured comedic staging of a classic that has not lost relevance or an iota of its thought provoking and chilling qualities – au contraire, the dark undertones still hit the mark given the patriarchal capitalist, narcissistic social media dominated world we still in.
photo courtesy of Daniel Boud
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