There is no escaping Donald Trump. He is everywhere. Including being referenced many times over in the mesmerizing psychological bloody musical adaptation of the 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis AMERICAN PSYCHO that was made into a film noir in 2000 and hit the London stage in 2013. It is now ensconced at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre and I strongly advise you to see it. It is a fantastic production.
It is not about Donald Trump but an indictment of the times in which men like him became synonymous with the type of confident, money loving, extravagant, pampered and charming guy that might be hiding a knife in his designer suit pocket while giving you a killer smile in a fashionable downtown club. The women were no better.
It is 1989. Reagan is President. Wall Street is booming. Some people are homeless. Some people are dying to get into the best restaurants.
Having the best bodies. The best designer outfits. The best apartment. The best water. A home in the Hamptons. Wanting and getting and exhibiting the best of everything.
Conspicuous consumption is what life is all about for these shallow folk. Until someone named Patrick Bateman a sensational Benjamin Walker – takes it all away with that killer smile of his and a gleeful, satisfied twinkle in his eye.
If you have to be seduced and slashed by someone it might as well be Patrick Bateman who is wealthy and charming with a body to die for. Arriving stage center in his tight jockey shorts looking like an Adonis he embodies what that culture was all about – what that culture still worships. The surface look. Trying to hide the emptiness of their lives.
This production of AMERICAN PSYCHO has the best of everything. The cast is chock full of beautiful people oozing talent. The direction by Rupert Goold is extraordinarily precise and exciting. The book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacassa skewers these people with just the right amount of biting satire. The songs by Duncan Sheik throb and pulsate with an underlying spookiness. His lyrics are crisp, concise and cynical. Costumes by Katrina Lindsay – perfect. Ditto for the scenic design by Es Devlin, Sound Design by Dan Moses Schreier and Video Design by Finn Ross and most importantly the incredible Lighting Design by Justin Townsend. All capture the horrible essence and extravagance of the period.
The choreography by Lynne Page is simply sensational in its depiction of the club scenes and the disintegration of the psyche of Patrick Bateman – a man who has everything – a man who relaxes by renting horror videos, is engaged but fools around, is stalked by a closet homosexual friend and has an adoring secretary – a man who wants it all and gets it. And then some. He begins to kill. One after another. Or does he? Funny how the mind works.
Photos: Jeremy Daniel
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