It’s unlikely that those who read the novel American Psycho or who saw the film immediately thought, “This needs to be a stage musical,” but they should have. In Out of the Box’s sharply etched, intensely realized new production, Psycho reaches a kind of perverse apotheosis. What began as a private litany of New York status symbols running through the head of an alienated twenty-something named Bret Easton Ellis — hip clubs and fashion designers, tony Manhattan addresses and elite colleges swirled together like glittering confetti — has, in Duncan Sheik’s fine score, become one with the pop hits of the era. At the heart of it all stands the perfect symbol of a culture that’s lost its way: Patrick Bateman, preppy capitalist as serial killer.
Congratulations to Tyler Matthew Burk for excelling in a role that would have scared off most other actors. He’s on stage for the entire show, not only singing, dancing, and acting like a jerk, but also drinking, doing various drugs, and committing several murders. Did I mention that for much of this he’s only clad in men’s briefs and stage blood? As Evelyn, Patrick’s uncomprehending girlfriend, Renee Cohen delivers a deft comic turn, peppered with just the right amount of sadly misdirected sass. Too bad she can’t see that her man’s a monster. On Bateman’s other shoulder sits an appealing newcomer, Marni Stone, as Jean, Patrick’s angel of a secretary. But as for the man between them, watch out. Patrick’s male ego charges on, unchecked and unstoppable. American Psycho: Come for the hits, stay for the hitman.