American Psycho - the musical?

This one might be a tough sell for the busload of pensioners from Sheffield down in London for a West End show. The BBC reports that preparations are advanced for a London stage musical based on Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho.

The notorious novel caused a literary storm on its publication in 1991. Scenes of torture, rape, mutilation, cannibalism and necrophilia shocked some critics, and certainly didn’t seem the sort of material that might fit happily alongside the Lloyd-Webber and Les Miserables shows that fill the theatres of the West End.

The book quickly attained a cult following. The film made in 2000, starring Christian Bale as the killer Patrick Bateman, kept the novel on the bookshelves, even if, in some countries, it is kept shrink-wrapped to prevent disturbing casual browsers. Bateman professed a fondness for the music of Phil Collins and Genesis in the book, but otherwise there are few clues about how the music might work.

The show is being developed by the award-winning Headlong Theatre Company, with a script by Broadway writer Robert Aguirre-Sacasa and direction from Rupert Goold.

Duncan Sheik is the man entrusted with the tricky task of coming up with some hummable tunes about slaughter and dismemberment. He has worked closely with theatre companies on several projects. The initial rumours from his work on the score suggest he is reflecting Ellis’s 80s milieu. "The American Psycho score is, so far, completely electronic," Sheik announced on Twitter. "Prophet 5, Moog, various drum machines. Imagine Depeche Mode as the pit band!"

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