It takes a bit of time into the first act to accept that you're witnessing a Broadway show about a serial killer, but once you move past that theme, American Psycho really packs a punch. It's not that you ever become desensitized to the destruction, or forgive the immorality of this disturbed mortal; rather, the show boasts so much to look on and marvel at that you spend the 2.5 hours hoping for more of pretty much everything.
Because without such a troubled and tortured and complicated Patrick Bateman -- skillfully and delicately portrayed by Benjamin Walker -- the themes about capitalism and materialism wouldn't come through so loudly and so clearly. Questions in the early parts of the show about what you're watching fade away, only to reemerge at the end, only after you've been wooed and wowed by a protagonist in search of his own identity and purpose. But that initial curiosity turns into comfort with time.
Every aspect of the show draws notice and intrigue. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's book, combined with Duncan Sheik's music, brings Bret Easton Ellis's novel to life. Every detail was carefully thought through for maximum effect -- the lights and sounds stand out as major players in the production, one that moves even faster than the frantic pace of the main character's own thoughts. Director Rupert Goold rises to the occasion, injecting in many key, defining moments the right balance of emotion, which is hard to come by in between all the blood and internal battling. We see Bateman in his rawest form much of the time, as Walker dances and prances around the stage in only his underwear.
The rest of the cast does a nice job supporting Bateman, playfully joking around with him at times while willfully ignoring his strange statements at other times. It's hard at times to recognize when Bateman is in or out of consciousness, when he's speaking to his fellow man and when he's addressing the audience with a cut-away. But it all adds up to something truly unusual, which it's clear is a primary goal for the performance. You'll leave wondering what you've just seen, piecing together what's real and what's been an illusion right in front of you the entire time.