Friday, 2 February 2018

 

Eugenius! at The Other Palace


Back In 2012 Loserville, based on the Son of Dork album Welcome to Loserville, transferred into the West End and hooked me in with its loveable and geeky characters, pop culture references galore, vibrant comic book vibe and super catchy tunes. I loved it so much I ended up seeing it 4 or 5 times in its far too short-lived London run. It's still one of my all-time favourite shows, and one I miss sorely, and so I was thrilled when I was watching Eugenius! at The Other Palace this week and it felt like Loserville had returned to London... with bonus superheroes!

Eugene (Liam Forde) is a self-proclaimed geek (not to be confused with a nerd; nerds love numbers, geeks love gadgets). Besides his two best friends Janey (Laura Baldwin), who has a not-so-secret crush on Eugene, and Feris (Daniel Buckley, who was also in the aforementioned Loserville), who believes he can make a fanny pack look cool, Eugene is an outcast at school. He doesn't believe he can ever be like the star of the comic book he's writing, Tough Man, but when the comic is discovered by a film producer, Eugene is Hollywood-bound and his biggest dreams suddenly seem within reach... or are they?

The brainchild of Ben Adams (who is currently touring the UK in Flashdance) and Chris Nelson, Eugenius! follows hot on the heels of another superhero-powered show on the stagey calendar, Bananaman the Musical at Southwark Playhouse. Both are geeky and comic book style new British musicals, but the space-themed Eugenius! is the far superior one of the two. It too has its cheesy moments, but jam-packed with 80s inspired power ballads and with that incredible cast it has definite West End potential.

Liam's Eugene is adorkable and he really carries the show with his understated charm. He is complemented well by Laura's bubbly Janey and Daniel's loveable Ferris. The trio of friends are the heart of this musical, but the entire cast is incredible. From The Addams Family-duo Scott Paige and Cameron Blakely as Hollywood marketer Theo and producer Lex to Ian Hughes' hilarious turn as the villainous Evil Lord Hector. And from Shaun Dalton portraying an Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque actor named Gerhard who takes on the role of Tough Man alongside Melissa James' Carrie, who just wants to be taken seriously as an actress but is typecast as Super Hot Lady.

There are a few songs that don't add much and aren't very memorable but for the most part it is a very strong score. Particular highlights include charming intro G.E.E.K., the epic Tough Man and Eugene and Janey's duet Comic Book Kind of Love. Dan Buckley's high-energy rap and dance number Who's That Guy was also a showstopper, giving Hamilton around the corner at the Victoria Palace a run for its money. Also, that final reprise of Go Eugenius was super catchy. I was still humming the music to myself on the train home and tracked it down on YouTube as soon as I made it back. It is such fun!

Eugenius! is a fun-filled evening of geekiness galore (heck they even have Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, voicing one of the characters!). The feel-good show has oodles of charm, fantastic music, an even better cast and such a lovely underlying morale: there is a Tough Man living in us all. So don't just shoot for the stars, shoot higher ♥


Eugenius! is playing at The Other Palace until 3 March. Book your tickets here.


Photo credit: Pamela Reith


🎵 Listening to: Eugenius! – Go Eugenius
🔹 Mood: Meh



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