The Other Palace has become a breeding ground for discovering new musicals and giving them a platform. After the success of their debut as a ‘one-off’ concert at the London Palladium last year, Eugenius! is the hotly anticipated musical opening at The Other Palace about a young geek called Eugene who dreams of being a superhero.
With a vibrant contemporary score by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins, they’ve created a production that is bursting with imagination with an 80s influence. Their initial inspiration for the production came from their desire to create a musical. “We didn’t have a particular genre or style that we wanted to write in but we just wanted to come up with a song,” Chris said. “I am heavily influenced by things like Rocky Horror and we actually came up with the song Tough Man first – which opens the show. It’s funny because when we open on the 22nd of January, it will be 4 years to the day that we wrote that song. It is still the opening number and hasn’t changed at all.”
Liam Forde is taking on the lead role of Eugene, with Laura Baldwin, who recently appeared in Big Fish at The Other Palace, playing his love interest Janey. The cast also includes Daniel Buckley (The Book Of Mormon), Ian Hughes (Guys and Dolls), Scott Paige (The Addams Family), Cameron Blakely (Les Misérables), Shaun Dalton (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Melissa James (The Bodyguard), Alexander Evans (Sound of Music) and Alison Arnopp (Dusty).
— Amy Stutz (@AmyStutz) January 10, 2018
This is Ben and Chris’ first musical, Ben expressed how he had written for lots of pop artists but never a musical. “We were in a pub in Clapham and thought that was the time to write a musical,” Ben laughed. “Most songs that you write when you’re drunk are very bad but we woke up in the morning and discovered it actually wasn’t bad, it was very good, and that’s where it all started.”
With endless amounts of time, it allowed Chris and Adam to be free with their ideas. “Because we didn’t have any producers lined up telling us deadlines, we just did what we wanted to do and what we wanted to hear,” Chris said. “We are big musical theatre fans and big fans of the 80s and everything that comes with that era,” Ben added. “So it was about putting everything we loved into one melting pot and creating a show about it.” Shortly after the creation, Warwick Davis who starred in the show at the Palladium and Kevin Wood jumped on board as producers.
— Amy Stutz (@AmyStutz) January 10, 2018
Amongst all the craziness of the superheroes, it is a story full of heart. Ben explained: “It’s a bit like Stranger Things which is out of this world but the story is actually about the kids and their relationships with each other. Our story is about the three kids that are growing up and finding who they are and their superhero within.”
Liam Forde is making his London debut as Eugene and he provides a really authentic portrayal of the character. “I am fascinated with the ideas of geeks and nerds as I define them as anyone who is immensely passionate about something,” he said. “They are the ones that go the farthest normally, I think it is about following your instincts and driving your passions,” Liam explained how he believes the core of the show really is about dreams and imagination. Eugene spends a lot of his time creating a comic strip about a superhero called Tough Man whose only weakness in love. After he is persuaded by his best friends to present his creation at school when the representative of Hollywood film company is coming to visit, they end up being so impressed that they create the comic strip into a full movie. With the addition of baddies and challenges along the way, it’s an exciting story.
With powerful, catchy musical numbers, relatable characters and a moving message at the core about finding the superhero inside of ourselves. Eugenius! is set to be a refreshing and modern musical bursting with high-energy and superb humour.
Opening on the 22nd of January until the 3rd of March, tickets and information can be found here.