West End Theatre Guide
Eugenius is a musical by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins. This production at The Other Palace marks its world premiere. The musical follows the story of Eugene, a high school boy with a passionate interest in comics, and his two friends, Janey and Feris, who share his interest. Eugene writes his own comic featuring Tough Man and Super-Hot Lady as the principal characters. A visit to the high school from a Hollywood producer presents the opportunity to take Tough Man to the big screen, and what follows is a series of trials which teach Eugene to be his own hero, follow his dreams and, chiefly, stay true to himself.
It is, in a lot of ways, a stereotypical story of a naïve boy with an idea that gets picked up by an industry expert and the boy, too trusting and too grateful for the opportunity, allows himself to be guided and his work corrupted, despite his friends trying to tell him to stand up for himself and the integrity of his work. However, Eugenius does have an interesting twist when Evil Lord Hector, the villain from Eugene’s comic, shows up on the film set, with disastrous consequences.
As well as references to superheroes and comics, the show also features wonderful parodies of musicals, including Chicago, Les Miserables, and Flashdance (which co-creator Ben Adams is currently starring in the UK tour production of as Nick Hurley).
The cast of this production were all superb, with standout performances from Laura Baldwin (Big Fish, The Little Beasts, Peter Pan) as Janey, Daniel Buckley (Fiver, Dead Simple, Jest End) as Feris, Scott Paige (The Addams Family, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Made In Dagenham) as Theo, and Cameron Blakely (The Addams Family, Into The Woods, Oliver!) as Lex.
Eugenius is a little slow to start but, when it does get off the ground, it is lots of fun, entertaining and truly the geek-power musical. The musical’s biggest strength is the catchy score, which is indeed ingenious, including, ‘Who’s That Guy?’, ‘Hollywood’, ‘The No Pants Dance’, and the title track, ‘Go Eugenius’.