What's it about?
American Psycho follows the story of Patrick Bateman, a businessman in the late 1980's, as he struggles to keep his homicidal tendencies under control while climbing his way to the top of his corporate ladder.
What'd I experience?
I'm going to start off by saying that given the nature of this show, I can't guarantee that I'm going to remain family friendly throughout. So if blood, murder, cocaine, and a ton of cursing gets to you, just know that you're in for a treat.
I couldn't have been more excited to see this show. I mean that literally too, I could not be more excited. American Psycho is one of my all time favorite movies and books, and I've seen it so many times that I can practically quote the entire thing. So, now you're telling me that I can see the whole thing unfold right in front of me? How am I not supposed to freak out in pure excitement. That being said, I obviously had a few expectations going in. I wanted to see blood. I wanted to see drugs. I wanted to see sex. And I wanted to hear plenty of cursing. I wanted all of the memorable scenes to happen and I wanted to hear all my favorite lines delivered in person. Most of all, though, I was intrigued as to which route they were going to go with the show. Were they going to go more along the lines of the movie, where Patrick Bateman is painted more as just a homicidal killer? Or were they going to go more along the lines of the book, where he's seen more as a man who legitimately cares about the people of the world and the issues in it, who just gets fed up with the obliviousness and sheer ignorance of his peers. Or maybe they would find a way to blend them both?!
As soon as I sat down in the theater I was into the show. The set was a very monochromatic black and white with this low droning synth music playing over it, and projections providing some extra effects. It gave this awesome feeling of building insanity, while also giving a "everyone and everything is so similar" kind of vibe. The one thing that bothered me during the pre-show was this weird see through blind that divided the stage. It was just sort of there, and it made me think that maybe it was one of those full wall mirrors, but then the reflection wasn't quite right because the set pieces didn't line up, so I was still just sitting there wondering what the hell it was.
Then the lights dimmed and fog machines started pouring fog against the screen building this gigantic wall of smoke (to which I immediately went "ohhhhhh that's what it's for"). After the smoke had become so dense that you couldn't see past the screen, a woman's silhouette appeared against the screen putting her hand up against it, which was followed by a man's silhouette quickly grabbing her as she screamed and a loud distorted noise played, making me jump. Immediately I knew I was going to have an amazing time. The very 80's synth-pop-rock started kicking in (it sounded "Sunglasses at Night"-esque, one of my all time favorite songs). I am a huge sucker for that kind of stuff.
The show then opened with our beloved psychopath rising from the floor in a tanning bed. He then went through his daily morning rituals, recreating almost word for word the same scene from the movie except for the whole "there is no real me part" (And brace yourself because I'm going to be linking a lot of scenes throughout this thing because I geek out a lot over this movie). Pretty much right away I had to prevent myself from freaking out. On the outside I looked calm and very "oh wow cool they're doing the scene," but on the inside I was screaming "OH MY GOD YES THEY'RE DOING THE SCENE" and quoting along with the whole thing. Then came the first song "Selling Out" (which was heavy with the synth) which kinda resembled a Lady Gaga music video to me. I was in love with the song, it was so catchy and 80's. And then Patrick grabbed two money guns and just started making it rain on the crowd, running up and down the aisles covering the crowd with fake $100 bills. It was easily one of the most electrifying openings to a show I've ever seen.
I can go on and on about how much I was freaking out over how much they recreated some of my favorite scenes from the movie, so I'll narrow it down to my favorite two. The first one was the business card scene, which is my all time favorite scene to quote. Seeing Bateman freak out over a small little business card is amazing and as soon as I saw the cast lining up and digging out their cards I immediately went "OH BOY HERE WE GO." You can then imagine just how much I started freaking out when music started playing and they turned the whole scene into a music number. The guy sitting next to me was also a huge fan, he turned to me and said "I'm trying real hard not to lose my shit right now" which didn't help my situation because I was already on the brink of going crazy myself. I almost had to hold myself to prevent me from going absolutely crazy.
My other favorite scene, and the scene that I was most highly anticipating, was the Paul Owen "Hip to Be Square" murder scene. They recreated the scene perfectly, all the way down to the lines and dancing. He put on his raincoat, grabbed his axe, all while explaining the importance of the song. Then it was time for the big finish, the murder itself, which I was itching to see. Paul was facing the back of the stage, and once Bateman was all geared up and in front of him with the axe, that weird see through screen dropped down again. Then the music started getting a little distorted and the lights began flickering and after a nice big "HEY PAUL" he swung the axe and this huge splatter of blood shot out against the screen as fog began pouring back in and more and more blood splattered with each subsequent strike. The crowd was jumping and screaming a bit, and the whole thing came to a close with Batmen holding Owen's head in his hand with one last "IT'S HIP TO BE SQUARE" as it cut to black. Good thing this was just before intermission too, because I needed to calm down after that.
As the show progressed, all of the great movie scenes were there and recreated or slightly tweaked in a way that made me tingle with excitement - obviously they couldn't drop a chainsaw down a flight of stairs cutting a fleeing naked woman in half, but there was still plenty of chainsaw greatness to go around. But there were also concepts that I love from the book, where Bateman is seen as heroic in a way. Now, I know that sounds crazy but let me explain myself. All of Bateman's peers are rich and can afford to help those in need around the world but are so self-absorbed and hopped up on various drugs that they'd rather just mock the poor and unfortunate and remain oblivious to world events. Bateman on the other hand, not only shows extensive knowledge about world events but is legitimately concerned with ending war, poverty, homelessness, curing the sick, helping refugees, and all other terrible things in the world. Every time he mentions any of it, even going on a long rant of dozens of different world issues on his own birthday, his "friends" just shrug him off and ask what's wrong with him. Now I know you're probably thinking "oh but murder is a crime so how could he be a hero blah blah" but he was honestly saving them from their own uptight assholeness. Just think of it as a mercy killing.
The show made being a psychopathic murdering, cocaine using, hard-bodied businessman in the 80's look like so much fun. I know I'm probably a little biased and all but I was thoroughly enjoying myself. The music even included some great renditions of 80's classics like "In the Air Tonight" "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and even "Don't You Want Me." I'm a huge 80's guy so I was loving every second of it. I know this is going to make me sound bad but I was absolutely loving how blood soaked everything was by the end of the show. Bateman was covered in blood, the stage was covered, the walls, everything was just covered. I left the theater with this weird feeling of adrenaline and amazement.