Friday, 23 February 2018


Eugenius! Super Fan Event at The Other Palace

Earlier this month I saw the geeky and 80s inspired Eugenius!, a fun-filled new British musical of which the songs are *still* stuck in my head three weeks down the line. I didn't expect to be back at The Other Palace theatre quite so soon, but when I was invited to a special evening that would also include a Q&A with co-writer Chris Wilkins, producer Warwick Davis (the one and only!) and director Ian Talbot, I of course didn't have to think twice before accepting.

I won't review the show again, as I have already done so very recently (read here) and my opinion hasn't changed in the few weeks since my last visit (I still thoroughly enjoyed it, thought the cast was unanimously brilliant, the songs highly catchy and the writing slightly too long at times but mostly a hoot a minute). Instead, I'd like to share with you guys the highlights of the evening so even if you weren't there you can still enjoy some of the greatest moments from the Q&A with the cast and creatives.

Before the show there was a Q&A with three of the Eugenius! creatives: producer Warwick Davis (of Harry Potter, Labyrinth and so much more fame), co-writer Chris Wilkins (he wrote the show with Ben Adams who is currently starring in Flashdance the musical) and seasoned director Ian Talbot. A really interesting mixture of people and it was super fascinating how each of them got involved with the project and put their stamp on it.

Particularly funny was Ian's impersonation of audience members from his generation – not the most obvious target audience for this – seemingly disinterested at first they would be up on their feet clapping and dancing along by the end of it (this I know is true as I saw it with my own eyes during my previous visit!).

Chris also mentioned that the character of Tough Man (the main character in Eugenius' comic book) is inspired by 80s icons He-Man and Masters of the Universe, which is hindsight is totally obvious when looking at the art work created for the show but I didn't realise upfront. On the note of 80s references, Warwick mentioned there weren't nearly enough to movies he was in in that decade, lol!

Now what I didn't realise when attending the show this week was that not only had bloggers like myself been invited to come along, but it was an official 'super fan event' so there were people in attendance who had seen the show 20+ times and had dressed up for the occasion.

The cast and creatives were super appreciative of their stagey fans which was very lovely to see. Not only were there competitions for best fancy dress and funs and games in the interval (there were even Stormtroopers!) but there were two members in particular in the audience who had seen Eugenius! tons of times and the cast had signed posters for them, which was such a wonderful gesture.

Furthermore, the team had created unique merch for the super fan event that all audience members were lucky enough to leave with, how awesome is that?! And following the show there was a second Q&A with the creatives followed by one with the full cast and a meet & greet in the foyer. I'm sure they were exhausted after putting up such an energetic show, and yet they took they time out to do this, which is really rather wonderful.

About the contagiousness of the show, Warwick said that he grew up in the 80s and those references are "such fun to play with". He also said that the energy is so "terrific" that every time he sees the show it lifts his spirits, which is what theatre is meant to do.

Chris added that he and Ben wanted to write a love letter to the things that inspired their childhoods and made them who they are. "If we're happy and it feeds through to the audience, we let everyone turn up for two hours to have a laugh and a smile. However it only works because the cast is so amazing, because if you watch 80s films like The Goonies they work because the cast commits, otherwise it just becomes silly."

With Eugenius! closing at The Other Palace next week, what's next for the show? Warwick said there are big plans such as Broadway, a comic book, toys, a film... "Don't just shoot for the stars, shoot higher." Chris joked that you can see Warwick has worked with George Lucas, lol.

When the entire cast came on stage they were asked about their favourite superheroes (a lot of them love Spider-Man and Wonder Woman, A+ choices if you ask me), advice for aspiring actors/theatre writers (Evil Lord Hector actor Ian Hughes joked "consider a different career") and what the fish costumes really are like. Apparently they smell like balloons and several spouses/partners have complained that the actors smell like condoms by the end of the show LMAO. Warwick added that they're in the fish masks for five minutes and he spent half his career inside such a custom, haha.

Shaun Dalton (Tough Man/Gerhard) also mentioned that he was 'geek checking' throughout rehearsals and I love that he's a geek himself as well so really gets all the references in the show too. Meanwhile, Scott Paige got multiple marriage proposals throughout the evening (and with his show-stealing part as Theo Schlong I can see why).

The cast also reflected on the power of social media and the positive buzz online. Daniel Buckley (Feris), said "When I see my [Twitter] timeline I feel surrounded by love for the show and it is powerful. The reason we've had such good sales and people have been talking is because they read a Tweet and when they respect that person's opinion they come check it out – and love it." ♥ 

We left the theatre with a huge smile on our face, Go Eugenius! stuck in our head and one-off merchandise created especially for the evening in our bags (an 80s inspired poster, show magnet and key chain). The team really went all out, not just shooting for the stars but definitely shooting higher to make this a memorable evening for all involved!

Huge thanks to Raw PR, the Eugenius! cast & creatives and the team at The Other Palace for organising such an incredible night for press, bloggers, vloggers and fans of the show. Throughout the evening it was mentioned how appreciative the cast and creatives were of social media shout outs and buzz generated by word of mouth, but it works both ways and your appreciation of us as content creators and theatre fans is awesome and means a lot.

Raw PR especially is a company that stands out by going that one step further. They also organised a behind-the-scenes peek at Half a Sixpence and Alices's Adventures Underground last year and I am so, so grateful for their support for the blogging community. Thank you ♥ ♥ ♥

Eugenius! is playing for just one more week at The Other Palace, closing on Saturday 3 March. Make sure you don't miss out by booking your tickets now!

🎵 Listening to: Eugenius! – Don't Shoot for the Stars
🔹 Mood: Cold

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