Published on December 17th, 2013 | by James Lomond
Reaction to Matt Smith’s American Psycho
In masterful avoidance of type-casting after his four-year stint as the Doctor, beloved by children and Grandparents on sofas across the world, Matt Smith’s first role after filming his final scenes was the lead in the stage musical of 80s satire, American Psycho! This is an original musical adaptation of the 1991 book by Bret Easton Elis, made into a film starring Christian Bale in 2000, running at London’s Almeida theatre until February. And predictably it’s sold out…
Now the reviews are in and BBC News’ Kev Geoghegan has surveyed the response to Matt’s musical debut and first live performance post-Who. The story deals with the lead character’s materialistic lifestyle as an investement banker in the 1980s Wall Street Boom and the gulf between his socially acceptable front and inner violent urges. While it might be clever and innovative (I’ll let you decide), it’s a long way from the mad man with a box we’ve got to know in Smith’s tenure on Who! For example, Geoghegan notes,
“The song Hardbody, performed by a cast dressed in skimpy fluorescent aerobic outfits, speaks to the character’s obsession with appearance, while at one point Smith performs a sexual threesome with a large pink teddy bear.”
So Smith’s not only an excellent Doctor, he’s also a versatile performer and, shall we say, just a bit daring. But while some loved the production, calling it a “stylish feast” and a “diabolically slick production”, others were less impressed. Predictably comparisons are drawn with both the book and the film version, which didn’t favour this musical offering. Either way I can imagine that a satire about gory murders set to ’80s synth-pop might divide opinion!
However Smith’s performance is praised by several reviewers even though he is, by his own admission, not a singer by trade, having noted:
“I’ve never sang before so it was a full zero to trying to sing in seven weeks so I just thought it was a remarkable challenge. I had a go and you do the best you can do.”
He said his early attempts at singing had been tolerated by his “cool neighbours”.
“There’s a Brazilian family downstairs and the woman is called Camilla and she is a singer and was really cool about it, she would say, ‘I heard you singing today!’”
I am struggling to imagine anything more wildly different from Doctor Who (and more wild) that Matt could have taken on post-regeneration. But then there is something of a precedent with Billie Piper’s role in the controversial Secret Diary of a Call Girl. But what do you think? How would you feel seeing our Matt on-stage playing a yuppie serial killer… to music? Is this too much of a departure from his family-friendly role in Who, or an essential move to survive in the fickle world of casting?