Arts & Culture

28th March 2020

Eugenius the Musical | Review

In these strange times, the saying ‘the show must go on’ has quickly become ‘the show must go onLINE’ with more and more shows streaming filmed productions on various social media platforms and websites.

Image Credit: Dawn Farrow

Last week, Eugenius the Musical uploaded a filmed performance to their Facebook page. The footage which initially meant just for archive purposes has now been released and seen and enjoyed by over 100, 000 people across the world.

The Plot

Eugenius tells the story of teenaged superhero fan, Eugene (played by Rob Houchen), who loves to write about his own superhero universe. His creation gets found when talent scout, Theo (Scott Paige), arrives at his school. He quickly gets whizzed off to Hollywood where his creation is made into a major motion picture. Add to that some romance, a brilliant score of original songs and the Evil Lord Hector (Neil McDermott) and you get a hilarious, bonkers and brilliant musical paying homage to all things superhero.

Image Credit: Scott Rylander
Featured: Rob Houchen

The Creatives

Writers of the show Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins have done a great job in creating something that will please superhero fans and musical theatre lovers alike. Ian Talbot’s direction, alongside Andrew Ellis’ lighting and Aaron Renfree’s choreography, make this relatively small show feel so much bigger than it is. Hannah Wolfe’s set design is quite simple and minimalistic but her costumes are wonderfully colourful and loud and they fit the superhero genre perfectly.

The Cast

This musical has an exceptional cast. Rob Houchen leads the cast as Eugene and his wealth of experience really comes through. Despite being known for more classical musicals, such as Les Miserables, he really shines in this very different style of musical. His vocals are truly exceptional and his voice naturally soars to hit the high notes. Laura Baldwin makes a gorgeous love interest for Eugene as Janey. Houchen and Baldwin’s voices work beautifully together and they have a great chemistry. Dan Buckley plays Eugene’s friend Feris and he brings a great amount of energy to the stage. Houchen, Baldwin and Buckley make for a brilliant trio.

Image Credit: Scott Rylander
Featured: Laura Baldwin, Rob Houchen and Dan Buckley (L-R)

Scott Paige takes on the role of Theo and he is absolutely hilarious. He’s wonderfully camp and flamboyant and he gets plenty of laughs throughout the show. Neil McDermott, who plays Evil Lord Hector, brings the stereotypical superhero movie villain to life perfectly. Emily Tierney gives a great performance as actress Carrie who plays Super Hot Lady in the Eugene’s film. Her vocals are outstanding. Simon Thomas is very strong opposite her as Gerhard who plays Tough Man in the film. Alex Bourne plays Hollywood producer Lex and he characterises the role wonderfully. He’s just unlikeable enough and his performance is completely believable.

Concluding Thoughts…

Eugenius the Musical is by no means a life changing piece of theatre but it is brilliant fun which is what we all need in this time. It has a brilliant cast, some great musical numbers and a fun story. The show will please a wide audience, although the superhero and musical theatre references will particularly amuse fans of those genres. It is no surprise that this musical has developed a strong and loyal fanbase through it’s various productions over the years.

Image Credit: Scott Rylander
Featured: Rob Houchen and the cast of Eugenius

Be sure to watch Eugenius on the show’s Facebook page or via the link here. The team behind Eugenius also invite people who watch it to donate to Acting For Others. They support theatre workers financially and emotionally in times of need.

Featured Image Credit: Scott Rylander