Tag Archives: torture

Nr 462: American Psycho (2013)

13 Jan

American Psycho
London 2013
Broadway 2016
Sydney 2019

Music & Lyrics: Duncan Sheik
Book: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis

Based on the best-selling novel by Bret Easton Ellis, and set in the epicenter of excess: 1980s Manhattan, American Psycho tells the story of 26-year-old Wall Street investment banker Patrick Bateman, young and handsome with impeccable taste and unquenchable desires. Patrick and his elite group of friends spend their days in chic restaurants, exclusive clubs and designer labels. It’s a world where appearance trumps substance, greed is good, and one’s purpose in life is to crush the competition at all costs. But underneath his smooth and suave exterior lies a psychopath with bottomless blood-lust for getting what he wants and wanting what he can’t get.
When he finds out that one of his coworkers, Paul Owen, not only has secured the exclusive and highly sought after Fisher account, but also has managed to get a reservation at the new elite restaurant Dorsia, AND has a better looking business card, the inner monster flashes his teeth. 
Patrick invites Paul to his apartment before a party. Patrick spikes Owen’s drink, puts on a raincoat and begins a long one-sided analysis of the artistic and commercial merits of the band Huey Lewis and the News. After stating that ”the world is better off with some people gone”, Patrick slaughters Owen with an ax.
Afterwards, he lets himself into Paul’s apartment and stages his disappearance by resetting his voicemail and packing many of his possessions into a suitcase.
Months pass. Having made sure to make people believe that Paul is in London Patrick appropriates Paul’s apartment as a place to host and kill more victims, beginning with 2 hookers…

 This is a rather uneven show. I found the first act to be laugh out funny, sharp, edgy, witty, a little scary, and at the same time a little nostalgic since I lived through that era, and with a perfect first act finale: the bloody murder of Paul Owens. I really couldn’t wait for the second act to begin but… I didn’t really like that act. The music was still good, some numbers amazing but the murdering got a bit tedious and the piece didn’t really go anywhere. And I hated the end of the musical which has him marrying his girlfriend and resigning himself to a pointless existence in which the punishment and notoriety that he craves will forever be denied him. While the book ends as it began, with Bateman and his colleagues at a new club on a Friday night, engaging in banal conversation. A much more cynical and frightening end, I think.

The music is, of course, for the most part synth music, and quite hard synth I might add, which I love. I think mr Sheik has done a brilliant jobb in giving us a batch of new synth hits. There are also some covers of 80s hits like Hip to Be Square, Don’t You Love Me Baby and In the Air Tonight all performed in new exiting versions that differ quite a lot from the originals.
All in all, I like the cast album a lot, the show itself… well, it isn’t bad but there could be improvements made…


And speaking of American psychos… Patrick Bateman and his friends idolize Donald Trump…

Duncan Sheik is perhaps best known for writing the music to the Tony Award winning Broadway musical Spring Awakening (2006).

In London the part of Patrick Bateman was played by Matt Smith, maybe most famous for being the youngest actor ever to portray the title character in the BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who and he also portrayed Prince Philip in the two first seasons of the Netflix series The Crown.

The Broadway version of the show won 3 Drama Desk Awards: Outstanding Lighting Design, Projection Design and Sound Design in a musical.
And 2 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Lighting Design and Projection Design.
It was nominated for two Tony Awards but didn’t win.

Press:
Though it is spattered with stage blood from beginning to end and features the sort of carnage associated with Eli Roth movies, “American Psycho” turns out to be one of those musicals that send your thoughts awandering, even as you watch them. So while this show’s title character takes a gleaming ax or chain saw to his co-stars, you may find yourself fixating on the following questions: Collectively, how many hours   of gym time per week does the incredibly buff cast embody? … Did those auditioning for “American Psycho” have to submit ab shots instead of head shots? And before they set foot onstage each night, are they required to pass a body mass index test?
If such queries do indeed fill your head during the long and decoratively gory duration of “American Psycho,” … then it could be argued that the show’s creators have done their job.

Of course, it could be argued that the “American Psycho” team has done its job too well, since you’re also likely to identify with Patrick when, shortly before he crucifies a young woman with a nail gun, he concludes solemnly that there’s “not one clear, identifiable emotion within me.”

Characters snort cocaine in dance clubs; have meaningless sex; order silly-sounding, elaborately named fusion dishes at overpriced restaurants; and recite designer clothing labels as if they were holy mantras, and make fun of those who are less of-the-minute than they are.
In other words, New York hasn’t changed all that much. Yet “American Psycho” treats the ’80s with the condescending nostalgia associated with decade-defining clip-compilation shows on lesser cable channels. And with a couple of signal exceptions, this musical treats its inhabitants as shrill cartoons (to laugh at) and sculpted sides of meat (to ogle).

Mostly, though, this psycho is neither scary nor sexy, nor is the show in which he appears. This may be good news for concerned citizens who feared the musical might present a nastily irresistible role model to impressionable young ’uns. Not to worry. In “American Psycho,” there’s little that’s lusty in blood lust.
– Ben Brantley, The New York Times

If you can resign yourself to the story’s innate ambiguity, you’re in for a perversely enjoyable experience.

The music is totally ’80s as well: Sheik’s bizarrely catchy, entirely electronic score – far from the usual Broadway fare….

And as for the violence – it’s simply part of the story, usually a joke, and often part of a stunning stage picture.
– Melissa Rose Bernardo, Entertainment Weekly

The second act flags…but the score is strong…Duncan Sheik’s synthesizer-heavy music – radical by Broadway standards…finally delivers a worthy follow-up to his ”Spring Awakening.” A comic ”American Psycho” you can dance to? Somehow, it works.
– Elisabeth Vincentelli, The New York Post

Videos:
Selling Out
You Are What You Wear
Cards
Hip To Be Square
Killing Spree
Trailer

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