Friday, 2 February 2018

REVIEW: Eugenius! at the Other Palace

Eugenius follows the story of classic Geek Eugene who has written a comic book that gets turned into a Hollywood blockbuster. But things don’t necessarily go to plan when the Evil Villain in the story turns out to be real and has headed to earth to get his revenge on the lead super hero. 

Yes, it sound cringe as hell! And that's true, it is. But the story isn’t really the most important part here, the feeling you leave with is the important thing. Think Loserville mixed with Flashdance, then you sort of get this! The music (by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins) is uplifting and catchy, not ground breaking but its a fun score. It would be great to listen to on Spotify. 

The show is a little full on, there's no easing you into it and you're thrown into the deep end but its a lot of fun. This must be remembered when watching the show, its not the next Evita but it most certainly is an enjoyable night.

The story is very predictable and, to be honest, not a lot really happens. There's not a lot of drama unfolded on the stage which left me wanting more at the end. Although things do go down that shake the story a little I just felt like it we, as an audience, weren’t invested enough in the story to really care about what happened. I think this comes from the predictable aspect of the book, we knew it would work out in the end. 

Liam Forde as Eugene is perfect casting, you couldn’t get anyone more suited to this role if you tried! His vocals blew the roof off, certainly one to watch. Laura Baldwin is also wonderful in this show, her Janey is the perfect balance of geek and girl next door. 

Daniel Buckley is one of our generations best comic performers, and he really shows us why in this show. The part was made for him and he plays it with an infectious energy. He manages to make the crude more funny than disgusting, a true key to this shows feel good factor. 

Ian Hughes plays the Evil Lord Hector in the production and he is just everything I could have asked for in that part. His comic timing was on point and his commitment to the characters belief in the fact that its all real was hilarious. For a Villain, he has us all behind him! 

Shaun Dalton and Melissa James play Tough Man (Gerhard) and Super Hot Lady (Carrie), respectively. Another perfect casting decision here, both nailed the parts down to a T. I just wish we could have heard them both sing a little more. 

The space Diva is played by Alison Arnopp, I wanted so much more from her! In the little bits she showed outstanding vocals and I wanted to hear more. For a small part, she certainly left a big enough impression to be one of the stand out performers in the production. 

The true stars of this show are the ensemble; with brilliant choreography by Aaron Renfree, the energy and buzz they create around the principles is vital and I couldn’t stop watching them. Featuring Jacob Fisher, Alex Tranter, Luke Dowling, Frances Dee, Chloe Chambers and Rosie Heath; they are all fantastic and are a real credit to the show. 

Overall, the show is nothing to shout about but it is a fun night at the theatre. Its very brave to put on new musical theatre at the moment and although I think I’d rather go to see The Grinning Man, which is completely new and original, this is also a brave choice and something different. 

Review by Mark Swale 

Rating: ★★★
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