“American Psycho The Musical” – Stray Cat Theatre

Theater Review – November 10, 2019


Stray Cat Theatre, Studio Theatre, Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe, AZ

If you are looking for a conventional musical, wait until The Phoenix Theatre Company opens “The Sound of Music” next week.  But if you want to see an unconventional musical that slams the rich and the fake things that impress these phony people, check out the superb Stray Cat Theatre’s Arizona premiere production of “American Psycho” based on the novel that inspired the dark film.

You couldn’t find a bleaker tale to turn into a musical.  It chronicles Wall Street banker Patrick Bateman who uses his wealth on weird fascinations.  His obsession is with violent killings executed with mutilating devices.  He gets away with his behavior because no one believes he could do such things.  The show leaves many questions unanswered including whether the violence and murders are real or whether they are lodged in Patrick’s perverted mind.  Also be warned that the script is amply peppered with salty language.

It is a horrific premise for a musical and the show is filled with lots of blood as Patrick executes his bizarre behaviors.  But the Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Duncan Sheik show plays out morbidly as Patrick lets his bizarre interest dominates his life.  Initially he covers his tracks but later he only cares about killing.

As always, Stray Cat Theatre does a masterful job with this show that features Toby Yatso in one of his most unusual roles to date as Patrick.  Although the character is just 27 and Yatso looks older, he captures Patrick with unbridled perfection playing a sick individual who easily disguises his bizarre cravings with the spotless veneer of a man-about-town.  Yatso sings several songs with his usual aplomb.  Opposite Yatso is Patti Davis Suarez in a series of small roles that she plays with dripping vindication as she sashays around in a succession of stylish outfits.  The Yatso/Suarez team brings professional distinction to the production and no doubt stimulated the supporting cast to delivering refined and polished supporting characters.  There isn’t a bad performance in “American Psycho.”  I liked the Stray Cat production better than the more ostentatious Broadway production I saw in 2016.

Ron May’s superlatively flowing and visually gruesome staging couldn’t be more on target as is Kat Bailes’ cleverly unique dances.  The production uses an interesting unit set design upon which several revealing projections are displayed that reveal plot details.

Phoenix theatergoers are lucky to have Stray Cat Theatre which always does the unusual with a shimmering professionalism that no other theater company in town can claim.  “American Psycho The Musical” continues through Saturday, November 23 at the Tempe Center for the Arts.  To order tickets, contact the Stray Cat Theatre box office at 480-350-2822 or order tickets online at www.straycattheatre.org or tca.ticketforce.com.

Grade: A