Known to be a fan favourite, Eugenius! has reassembled, and has taken to the stage at the Turbine Theatre. The uplifting musical may start seeming intimidating by its cult following and immersive nature into the world of comic books and 80s nostalgia, but you soon find yourself unable to resist being part of it. Setting out to prove that together we are mighty, the great cast power through an unforgettable soundtrack on this space superhero adventure.
Led by Elliot Evans as Eugene, his imagination is the source of characters from out of this world as he writes scenes of Tough Man (Dominic Andersen), Evil Lord Hector (Joseph Beach) and Super Hot Lady (Maddison Firth). With friends, Janey (Jaina Brock-Patel), full of angst for love, and the questionably over-zealous Feris (James Hameed) by his side, their geek status at school doesn't seem to get them far, but when a big opportunity is up for being seized, will Eugene's creative talents finally get noticed? An opportunity arrives when flamboyant assistant Theo (Rhys Taylor), and superior film industry guru, Lex Hogan (Lara Denning) visit the class and offer something that progresses the plot to new, wild depths.
Offering his gloriously passionate villainous duties, Joseph Beach's hilarious expressions enhance the cartoon impression of the show, and adds comedic value, with Rhys Taylor's characterisation also doing the latter. Lara Denning is ideal for the fierce and feisty Hollywood ringleader and Elliot Evans' portrayal shows budding talent as the school boy turned film writer. But it's the perfectly placed abundance of references, alongside the music, that truly make the piece.
Jaina Brock-Patel absolutely knows how to nail a duet, and it is lovely to see her blossom as the show progresses. Closing act 1, 'Hollywood' gets everyone involved in the upbeat tune and proves how well-written the tracks are by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins, regardless of their often insincerity. Flaunting her impressive vocals to open the second act, Maddison Firth sings her solo, 'Hands Up', which perhaps begins the chain of strange events to follow. Ultimately the catchiest of songs featured though is the finale, 'Go Eugenius!'- it will be nicely stuck in your head for a long time to come, and you won't be complaining.
Andrew Exeter's clever set utilises projections to bring the intimate space to life, despite the minimal props besides some blocks, and the lighting fits well with Hannah Chissick's thoughtful direction. The vast range of costumes featured are thoroughly enjoyed too.
Eugenius! definitely isn't sophisticated theatre, but undoubtedly a bit of fun. While the plot lacks depth and generally is a bit silly, it's iconic to its devotees, and even if you don't love it, it's certain you'll still be able to appreciate the action on stage.