Erin Clare takes on 'frenemy' role in American Psycho - The Musical

Former Hazelbrook resident Erin Clare will take to the stage in the Australian production of American Psycho - The Musical on May 10.

Based on the 1991 novel by Brett Easton Ellis, which also inspired the 2000 film starring Christian Bale, American Psycho - The Musical is set in the hedonistic world of Wall Street in the 1980s. It features hits from the time by Phil Collins and Huey Lewis and the News, plus a suite of pop-infused original songs.

Clare plays Courtney Lawrence, the best friend of lead character Patrick Bateman's fiancee Evelyn - a minor detail that doesn't stop her having an affair with the handsome banker with psychotic tendencies.

But while Clare said Courtney fits the "classic frenemy" mould, beneath the surface the character is much more complex.

"I think the really fascinating thing about this world we've created is the multi-faceted characters," she said. "There's so many layers to Courtney. She's actually one of the smarter characters in the piece... She's really, really intelligent but she is also just trying to fit in."

Adapting the controversial novel as a darkly comical musical has made the source material less confronting, while still packing a punch, said Clare.

"If you know the book or the film, it's exceptionally dark, so having the medium changed to a musical adds to the levity. It's actually quite funny."

The musical also has much to say about issues dominating headlines today like white male privilege, she said.

"It was so jarring at the time [when the book was published] because no-one was thinking about toxic masculinity... Now it's in the forefront of the media and there's a lot more discussion about it. The most jarring thing about the musical today is that it's set in the '80s but there are so many parallels now."

As the murderous 20-something in a power suit, Clare said Australian actor Ben Gerrard shines as Patrick Bateman.

"What he's done with it is incredible. He's a tour-de-force. He spends basically all the show on stage and he is absolutely on top of it," she said. "He's such a generous actor [too], he's always there to run the one scene you have with him even though he's got 17 monologues.... He is absolutely terrifying [in the role] and brilliant."

The musical represents a major change of pace from Clare's recent leading role in the 2016 production of the hit Queen musical, We Will Rock You. Describing the nationally-touring show "as one of the greatest experiences of my life", she reprised her role as the heroine Scaramouche in an arena spectacular production last year.

Both productions illustrate the impressive career Clare has carved out for herself after gaining her start in Blue Mountains Musical Society productions as a teenager.

Although she now lives in Sydney, the former Hazelbrook resident is still a regular visitor to the Mountains to see family and friends. She hopes many of them will make the reverse journey to see American Psycho - The Musical when it opens at The Hayes Theatre, Potts Point from May 10-June 9. Tickets on sale from www.hayestheatre.com.au.