Doctor Who News American Psycho

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?

And more to the point have you seen it?! Tell us below…

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14 Responses to Reaction to Matt Smith’s American Psycho

  1. avatar Christine says:

    I’m sorry, I tried to read the book once and it made me sick on the one hand because of the rather graphic violence and on the other because of the boring lists of well known Trade Marks for nearly everything the guy used. So even it was in the theatres over here, I probably wouldn’t go. But for Matt I think it is excellent, I can hardly think of a more far reaching way of getting rid of typecasting than this! Wouldn’t know if it is essential but it surely will help!

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      It made you sick on one hand?! ;P

      • avatar Christine says:

        Got me there! It just made me sick, while it also bored me. Dutch typo here! Sorry.

        • avatar Philip Bates says:

          Haha! No, that’s no probs – gave me a laugh, but I know what you mean. I dunno; I never wanted to read it until Matt starred in this. Maybe I’ll read it someday and be disgusted.

          … Though I do watch Luther, so… ;)

          • avatar Christine says:

            Let’s just say this investment banker has more painful ways of hurting, torturing and killing people than the Gestapo in the 2nd World War! A very creative mind on that score. But he’ll never forget to use Boss Shampoo! Or was it Gucci? Perhaps you’d better watch the musical. I’m sure the Satiric nature will be very prominent, more even than in the Original novel which of course was also a satire on a certain way of life. But the violence (which I tended to visualise in my head – and in worse ways than seen on screen) really was too much for me to finish it. Satire or not! I immediately went back to reading less horrifying fare.

  2. avatar Bob James says:

    As long as Matt’s challenging himself, and having fun, where he takes his career is up to him. He’s young enough have a long journey ahead of him, to go virtually anywhere he wants to go and do anything he wants to do. I hope he continually finds opportunities to move forward.

  3. avatar DonnaM says:

    Not my cup of tea by any stretch, but good for Matt taking a risk and doing something a bit different! It takes guts to put himself up there in a singing role when he knows it’s not necessarily his forte and I admire that.

    I’m sure I’ll be watching him in many other things in years to come.

  4. avatar Geoff says:

    I thought the books was equally boring and vacuous and disturbing which I think was the idea. I get what Ellis was doing but a whole novel of it was a bit much. The comedic elements just didn’t come across for me, unlike the film which was utterly ridiculously funny and didn’t have any real explicit gore which was a clever move by the film maker. Christian Bale made Patrick Batemans neurosis very very funny. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine songs in the film because the reality it portrays is a bit shaky to say the least. My advice would be avoid the book because it’s dull. If you like subversive films like Fightclub give the movie ago…and if you were lucky enough to get tickets for Matts musical I don’t want to talk to you. Now I must go, I think I just saw Ivana Trump in a cab and I have to return some videotapes, (if you haven’t seen American Psycho the last will make no sense to you!)

    • avatar Christine says:

      I agree, the book was boring. But also disgusting and, honestly, just very very painful. Matt doing this however surely is a good thing. It’s so different compared to our favourite tv show!

    • avatar Christine says:

      Sorry, I just can’t help myself. This is one of the few books that I couldn’t finish. And let me tell you, I’ve read quite a few boring ones. But this one really made me feel sick. And I recall a friend mentioning it as “only for those of us who have a sick mind”. Obviously this doesn’t mean the film or the musical are just as nauseating, only that the underlying novel is. It is a satire, but did the violent parts really have to be that graphic? Again, sorry but I just hate this book.

  5. avatar Vicki says:

    I’m reading the book now, prompted by having seen the film after Matt’s venture into the musical. Yes, the book can be boring, but I think that’s part of the point. Bateman’s boring, pointless life. No wonder he’s insane! Or, is he?

    I’m less than half-through because the gory scenes are REALLY gory, and I can take only so much. Besides, the constant listing sometimes puts me to sleep. So, I’m half asleep and something gory or sickly sexual jars me awake. Not my most favorite read, but I guess I’ll finish it eventually.

    I’d see the musical, though. Wishing really hard . . . . , but nowhere near London.

  6. avatar Maria says:

    Matt taking a big risk in an attempt not to be type cast. Its a brave move despite the fact that he is not a strong singer. Good for him. :)

  7. avatar Geoff says:

    My experience with the book was the same as the other comments above and that’s why I decided not to finish it. It wasn’t that I was as disgusted as Christine, disturbed yes but not disgusted. However when I asked myself the question: what am I getting out of this? The answer was: nothing good, just boredom and disturbing sexual violence, so I binned it.
    I use that question a lot with things. I can stomach unpleasant or disturbing things if I can see what I consider a justifiable reason for it being there but when it’s gratuitous it’s not for me. It’s the same reason I have and will never see a film like Hostel but will happily watch Taxi Driver.


  8. Yes I was lucky enough to get a ticket for £16·50 (student price),and thoroughly enjoyed the play.I am not a fan of violence but Matt Smith’s performance was mesmerizing and hypnotic, and the show was surprisingly funny and satirical.I would give it five stars as a production, go and see it if you get the chance!

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