Saturday, 2 July 2016

Review: Eugenius! at the London Palladium

Eugenius! In Concert
London Palladium
Reviewed on Wednesday 29th June 2016

Three days after Eugenius! was staged at the London Palladium and I still can't get the music out of my head! Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins' new musical is infectiously fun; at a time when you can't open a newspaper or switch on the radio without feeling depressed, Eugenius! provided an evening of much needed ridiculous escapism. 

Set in an 80s world of geeks, nerds and comic books, the one night only concert presentation of the show was helmed superbly by Ian Talbot and Michael Jibson with slick choreography from Aaron Renfree and Nick Winston. 

I've seen some perfectly enjoyable new musicals this year, but Eugenius! is the first new British show I've seen for a long time that has punch and potential. There are some killer songs, but most importantly Eugenius! has a brand. There are some brilliant lines in the show that would be perfect for merchandise t-shirts whilst there's lots of fun to be had with the geeky, comic book theme. 

Nevertheless, there is still work to be done. There are some hysterical lines and lyrics, but occasionally the piece dips into panto-mode which isn't necessary - it's better than that. Overall I enjoyed the story, but it feels like too much has been thrown in, sometimes too much happens in a short space of time.

The casting for the concert performance was brilliant; the performances of the night came from the always wonderful Amy Lenox (Janey) and Daniel Buckley (Ferris) who stole the evening's biggest laughs; Buckley's rap was sensationally funny. Louis Maskell (Eugene) was a revelation, his vocals impressed throughout.

Sharon D Clarke reminded everyone that she is the ultimate West End diva (we need her back in a musical asap) and Summer Strallen shone in a completely different kind of role for her. Elsewhere Ross William Wild, Gabriella Williams and Samuel Holmes all gave stand out performances.

Showcasing a new musical at the London Palladium is a very brave thing to do, but the risk certainly paid off for Eugenius!. With further development this show could be destined for exciting things. 

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

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