Hands up! I have no clue why Eugenius! hasn’t appeared on my theatre hot list. Clearly, I’ve been living on another planet! I guess the 80s is a little before my time here on Earth – my mum was too busy working on the switchboard. Eugenius! always struck me as a “not my type of thing” show, but… oh boy… now I know this is where the theatre’s coolest kids hang out.
“Meet Eugene, Janey and Feris as they reach for the stars and discover the superhero inside themselves. With a hilarious script and dynamite original songs that’ll be stuck in your head for weeks, this shot of musical adrenaline is like nothing you’ve heard before.”
Kissing ass to the show’s creative team, the stage was beautifully set, cloaked in smoky sweet haze. Energised with the jingles of electro-techno, the entrance was a fabulous welcome into The Other Palace and teleporting us to the 80s. Lit to perfection, bravo to lighting designer Andrew Ellis for the continuous exciting vibrant streams and laser beams throughout the musical. Perhaps the stage was slightly compact for the awesome choreography, but the cast still kicked butt.
As masterminds behind this monster of a show, Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins have given Eugenius! the ultimate superpower – FUN! Like a stick of theatrical dynamite, action explodes, catchy songs lasso, and humour unmasked onstage. The feel-good vibe is highly contagious, no hands or legs sit still. Cue my favourite songs, Hollywood, Hands Up!, No Pants Dance, Don’t Shoot For The Stars (Shoot Higher) and, obviously, Go Eugenius. This musical has seriously got it all!
Thank the theatre god for no mind-boggling plot, just two hours of pure entertainment. Thunderbolts of smirks, giggles and laughs, Eugenius! is infectious. Ditching the seriousness of it all, the show goes full out and dares to celebrate the 80s world of weird and wacky. It’s the hallelujah for our inner and outer geeks. With its underdog ego, the dwelling of a bullied kid suddenly flicks to an inspiring, out of this world tale.
The holy trinity of Eugene (Rob Houchen), Janey (Laura Baldwin), and Feris (Daniel Buckley) are the show’s true loveable heroes. Battling through sweet teen dramas, they are the dream makers. Obsessed with his comic book “Tough Man”, Eugene is totally clueless to the romance and support of his best friends. The unity of all three onstage ricochet emotions left, right and centre. Feris’ hilarious sidenotes, Janey’s sweetheart yet sassy presence and Eugene’s slowly growing confidence makes you want to join their “GEEK” gang.
The whole cast have superb powerhouse voices, approaching every song with gusto. The dancers were put through their paces, adopting different characters as Eugene’s success story evolves. Recharging music with energy, they injected a thrilling sense of pace whilst paying homage to the 80s. Totally on point, the team were sensational with their perfectly animated routines, especially during their fish people’s chant “Swim, Eat, Poop, Forget”.
Being a 90s chick, some references went way over my head and into what I like to call the “Too Old For Me” galaxy. Plus, the show also has a few “marmite” quirks. Eugene’s cartoon fantasy world soon crash lands into reality, shooting a sudden WTF plot twist. Luckily, imagination does rule. After all, Neil McDermott’s Evil Lord Hector is bloody brilliant for a guy spending most of his time in purple lycra strapped with a baby bottle. Shading the villain with plenty of laughs, McDermott earns massive respect for playing such an enjoyable supervillain.
The characters have BIG personalities, slightly eccentric, but fully loaded with projection and determination. Carrie/Super Hot Lady (Emily Tierney) and Gerhard/Tough Man (Simon Thomas) were the best reimaginings of comic book characters. Lex (Alex Bourne) and Theo (Scott Paige) also performed their exaggerated showbiz personalities to utter perfection, encouraging vulnerable Eugene to enter the dark side of Hollywood. Toying with their stereotypes and creatively crafting moments of comedy gold, they all graced the stage with enthusiasm and eagerness for the next laugh.
Probably using the most overused pun, the show is pure genius. For the fun factor alone, Eugenius! is going to be a very tough (but fair) show to beat. Like chomping on an energy ball, it’s fast, nutritious and addictive. Giddy on happiness, who knew a musical could make you feel so high. As a precious gift to the stagey world, Eugenius! has that magic sparkle to entertain the masses. So Go Eugenius! Go Eugene!
★★★★★ A geek’s dream come true. Awesome musical with teen love at its core. The greatest show for hilarity.
Book your tickets to see Eugenius at The Other Palace here. The show closes on 20 October 2018.
A big thank you to Francois from London Box Office: londonboxoffice.co.uk