Saturday, 1 September 2018

Eugenius! The Eunique Musical Press Launch

On Tuesday I headed over to the gloriously accessible The Other Palace, which has been home to Heathers most recently, to attend the press launch for the 80s style music filled musical, Eugenius. This show came onto my radar at West End Live (after having been out of the theatre loop for several years due to my health) and the amount of times that I've rewatched the performance on YouTube since shows how much I am in love with this show already. The songs are incredibly catchy, the choreography is memorable and the newest cast for the show couldn't have been better chosen. So, what's the show about?


Meet Eugene, Janey and Feris as they reach for the stars and discover the superhero inside themselves. With a hilarious script and dynamite original songs that's be stuck in your head for weeks, this shot of musical adrenaline is like nothing you've heard before. 

Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins' homage to the great sounds and cinema of the 80s reaches across time and space to enchant you whatever your age - Eugenius The Musical 

Eugenius is probably one of the best examples you'll find of social media propelling a show to success, it's dedicated fans have talked and talked about the show and the show itself has made sure to keep fans connected by hosting Super Fan Sunday shows where there are Q&As with the cast and creatives as well as giveaways and prizes. Shows like that help to keep fans involved, inviting them in to get a better look at the process. This time round 2 of the cast, Dan Buckley and Scott Paige, have even created a YouTube channel called Buckley & Paige which has taken fans behind the scenes of the show, from read through's to the rehearsals. Other shows could definitely learn a lot from the way Eugenius has used social media to drum up interest.


There were a mixture of fans, bloggers, vloggers, press and more in the room and we were all treated to a preview of 4 songs from the show, sang acoustically by the cast. Rob Houchen, a name you'll recognise if you're a keen theatre fan, kicked things off with 'Comic Book Kind Of Love' and he had us hooked from the first note. I had the pleasure of seeing Rob play Marius in Les Mis a few years ago and the part of Eugene, a super geek, didn't seem like an obvious casting choice for him but after seeing him perform this song, and others, I am more than convinced that he is the right man for the job.

Out of all the songs performed 'The Future Is Bright' sung by Laura Baldwin (with backing from the full cast) was the only one that I hadn't listened to before the evening, I want as much of the music to be new and fresh to me when I see the full show and I'm so glad I made that decision because I got goosebumps listening to Laura sing, who plays Janey in the show. She has such a powerful and emotive voice, sitting just metres away was an incredible experience. You could really tell that she felt so passionate about what she was singing about, she's one of the cast members brought over from the previous run and it shows.


Rob and Laura were then joined by Dan Buckley, who was also in the previous run and plays Feris, and the full cast to sing 2 of the biggest songs from the show 'Don't Shoot for The Stars' and 'Go Eugenius!', both of which are well listened to within my Musicals playlist on Spotify! We even got taught the well known and popular choreography from 'Go Eugenius!' by the shows choreographer, Aaron Renfree, which has sparked a challenge across social media. When the old cast performed at West End Live a few months back you could so many people in the crowd following along with the choreography and I think it's things like that, dance moves that are easy to pick up mixed with their social media presence that has helped the show to take off and helped to keep fans interested during the breaks between each run.


Hearing the songs acoustically in such a small space was an amazing experience but I'm so excited to see them in their full glory, alongside new song to the show 'Hand's Up' which has a music video featuring past Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Joanne Clifton who is currently starring in the tour of Flashdance The Musical with Ben Adams (member of boy band A1) who along with Chris Wilkins has done the book, music and lyrics for Eugenius. Another familiar face connected to this show is the legend that is Warwick Davis, who has helped to produce it alongside Kevin Wood and George Wood. I had a feeling he was going to be at the press launch but it was still a wonderful surprise when he was introduced. As a disabled person it was incredible to see another disabled person up on a stage introducing a musical they have produced, it's no secret that theatre isn't the most accessible industry so I think for aspiring disabled producers, actors, set designers, stage managers, directors etc it's so important to see disabled people in those roles.


In a Q&A afterwards the cast and creative team spoke about the changes made to the show between the previous run and this new version of the show, obviously there is a brand new song but there have also been script changes that they hope will make the show clearer, as well as choreographer changes and of course there are a lot of new faces to bring a different perspective to the show! Many of you will recognise Neil McDermott, who plays Evil Lord Hector, from Eastenders but he's also got a few theatre credits to name. You'll also recognise names like Emily Tierney, playing Carrie/Super Hot Lady, who has played Glinda in Wicked. Returning to the show again is also Scott Paige, someone who has made me laugh until I've cried more times than I can count through his features in Carrie Fletchers vlogs and now on his joint YouTube channel with Dan Buckley. The show is not lacking in talent that is for sure!

I've got a lot of shows booked for the next few months but after the press launch Eugenius! became the one I'm most excited to see and you can be sure they'll be a full review coming very soon, but for now keep an eye on my Twitter for excitable interval tweets and post show chat!
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