I had no idea what to expect from this show when I got the tickets, I knew 3 things about it;
- It’s set in the 80’s
- It’s about comic book heros
- It’s produced by Warwick Davies
All of the above things were correct but what I didn’t know was that from the moment I stepped into the theatre I would fall in love with this show, the fairy lights and florescent pink lighting instantly transported me into another world. The show reminded me of those B-movies that are so awful they’re brilliant except there was nothing awful about this show, just pure brilliance. This new British musical written by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins is quite something to behold. There’s been a lot of social media hype, people just can’t seem to get enough of this show and it’s not hard to see why! It’s an upbeat, entertaining and exciting show full of 80’s references, catchy songs, perfect dancing and a phenomenal cast.
The show centres around Eugene, (Rob Houchen) a self proclaimed Geek who spends his evenings neglecting his homework instead writing comic books about his favourite super hero Tough Man, his trusty sidekick Super Hot Lady and their arch nemesis Evil Lord Hector. The story follows Eugene and his 2 best friends Janey (Laura Baldwin) and Feris (Chris Wilkins) on a journey to Hollywood and beyond, along the way they meet a stereotypical Hollywood movie producer (Alex Bourne) a Super Hot Lady (Emily Tierney) and some fish people (you’ll have to go and watch it to see where they fit in)
Rob Houchen brings a wonderful innocence to the role of Eugene however his boyish good looks give off the vibe of Hipster Geek rather than Comic Book Geek. his voice is sublime and works very well in his solo song Comic Book Kind of Love.
Feris is that boy that every school had, who wasn’t cool at all but in his head he was a total legend and all the ladies wanted him. This weekend one of the shows writers Chris Wilkins stepped into Feris’s luminous fanny pack and what an outstanding job he did. I could see throughout the whole show Chris was having the time of his life! The role is the comedy relief in the show and Chris pulled it off brilliantly, delivering some of the best moments in the show for me (personal favourite being The No Pants Dance) I can only imagine how he felt seeing the whole audience join in with the singing and iconic choreography of ‘Go You Genius’ at the end of the show.
There are so many brilliant actors in this show and if I spoke about them all I’d be here forever! So special mentions go to:
Scott Paige who plays a camp as christmas movie assistant with a thing for powerful men. His facial expressions are hilarious and he is brilliant at being over the top when needed but also knows when to play it down and keep things subtle.
Emily Tierney as Super Hot Lady/Carrie is laugh out loud hilarious, Emily has brilliant physicality and will have you belly laughing all throughout the audition scene.
Neil Mcdermott as Evil Lord Hector gives us a brilliant evil ‘genius’ who is actually quite dim. Neil is absolutely superb in this role, he’s got the crazy evil thing down to a tee! Every movement, facial expression and eye twitch from Neil is so precise and perfect, you both hate and love his character by the end.
The music in this show is outstanding, it’s got an 80’s feel with modern twists. The songs are catchy as hell and I guarantee you’ll be singing them for weeks after you see this show! I have only 2 criticisms in this area, firstly often the band drowned out the singing and some of the lines were lost due to the volume and secondly, some of the lyrics were incredibly fast paced which sometimes meant you could not quite understand what was being said and I fear I lost out on some comedy moments because of this.
Overall this show is amazing, I was lucky enough to attend a Super Fan Sunday performance so there was a Q&A after the show with some cast members as well as the writers, its so nice to see a creative team who are fully aware of the impact their fans can have on the success of a show and who have decided to say thank you to their fans in a brilliant way! As part of the Super Fan Sunday package you can also get a free poster (different character each week) access to exclusive merch and you have the chance to get a Tough Man Lego Figure too! (I managed to get one and he now has pride of place on my mantle)
It has to be said, in an ever growing list of Broadway transfers and jukebox musicals in the West End it’s great to see a British musical with an original score carving it’s way into the theatre scene. I really hope this gets given a West End run as it thoroughly deserves it and so does everyone involved!
I’m now a big fan of this show and have already booked to go again, I highly recommend it. It’s a feel good show with a good message at it’s core
GO YOU GENIUS! GO EUGENE!
Tickets can be purchased from The Other Palace and range from £19-£55. Eugenius is running until Oct 20th 2018 – Special Super Fan Sunday tickets are available for £30.