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Theatre / Eugenius!

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Premiering with a one-night-only show at the London Palladium, Eugenius! is a love letter to The '80s in the form of a West End musical. The story is centred on Eugene, a schoolboy with a talent for writing comic books who finds himself catapulted to fame with a Hollywood movie concept. Nevertheless, it somehow also manages to encompass an unrequited Childhood Friend Romance, the career aspirations of a Hollywood wannabe-starlet... and the attempted overthrow of Earth by an evil intergalactic overlord.

...That last one should probably have been mentioned earlier.

With a star-filled cast including Louis Maskell (West Side Story), Amy Lennox (Kinky Boots) and Samuel Holmes (Spamalot), as well as eternal geek favourites BRIAN BLESSED and Warwick Davis, the initial performance of Eugenius! was met with very positive reviews. The "concert" performance of its first outing (i.e. with minimal set, minimal costumes and scripts in hand) diminished interest slightly, and reviewers almost universally marked it as a work in progress. Nevertheless, it set out the bones of what could be a major future musical.

The initial performance of Eugenius! provided examples of;

  • The '80s: It's set in 1988 and references a lot of eighties culture.
  • Actor/Role Confusion;
    • The evil intergalactic despot believes that the actor playing Tough Man really is his namesake space hero, and challenges him.
    • The rest of the production crew think the real Hector is the actor portraying him.
  • The Ahnold: Tough Man's actor, Gerhard is a parody of Schwarzenegger.
  • Alliterative Name: Super Hot Lady's actress is called Carrie Carter.
  • Ambiguously Gay: The closingn arration says that Tough Man took a much needed vacation with a lovely chap named Peter.
  • Based on a Dream: In-Universe, Eugene writes comics based on his dreams.
  • Big Bad: An intergalactic ruler, no less.
  • The Big Guy: The star of Eugene's comic, Tough Man. To a lesser extent, the heavily-accented actor pulled in to play Tough Man in the movie.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Hector shouts "Lightning Bolt!" every time he shoots one.
  • The Cameo: BRIAN BLESSED provides the voice of the Narrator, with Mark Hamill as the voice of Evil Lord Hector's Robot: Kevin.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Janey is eternally on the edge of telling Eugene how she feels, but just can't do it.
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: Eugene dances around this, but usually snaps out of it fairly quickly. Unfortunately, this makes it hard for him to accept the strangeness of reality when things get crazy...
  • Casanova Wannabe: Ferris sings about being a cool ladies' man while his cheerleader backup singers say they've no idea who he is and don't want to know.
  • Catchphrase: Tough Man has a few, but most notably "I will be Tough! (But fair!)"
  • Chaste Hero: Comic book hero Tough Man refuses all possible love interests, as his powers are nullified by The Power of Love.
  • Comic Books Are Real: Eugene eventually finds out that the dreams that inspire his comics are actually happening in outer space.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Lex. He smilingly swindles Eugene out of all creative control over his creation, and selects actors designed for box-office returns over any similarity to Eugene's story.
  • Dream Tells You to Wake Up: The first song ends with Tough Man telling Eugene to wake up and stop dreaming about him.
  • Dumb Is Good: Excluding the schoolchildren, this plays out pretty straight. The big, burly actor Eugene works with is one of the nicest characters in the show. Meanwhile his boss Lex is an undoubtedly genius when it comes to media opportunities, but is clearly a villain. In terms of overall effectiveness, he somehow manages to be worse than the Big Bad!
  • Executive Meddling: In-Universe Lex has Eugene's script bear completely rewritten to add more romance and lose the "wizardy stuff".
  • Expository Theme Tune: One of Eugene's Imagine Spots produces one for Tough Man.
    • ...Tough Man! He doesn't like it when you're mean! / Tough Man! He's not afraid of laser beams!...
  • Expy Coexistence: Arnold Schwarzenegger briefly appears filming a Terminator movie. Keep in mind we already have Gerhard The Ahnold.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Eugene's dad wants him to give up on writing comic books.
  • Fish People: Some appear in the Tough Man the movie.
  • Foil: Eugene's friend Ferris is this to almost everyone else.
  • Forgetful Jones: The (Gold) Fish People keep chanting "Swim! Eat! Poop! Forget!".
  • Fun T-Shirt: Janey wears a Fraggle Rock and then later a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t shirt to impress Eugene.
  • Gang of Bullies: Apparently delight in torturing the geeky ("We're geeks, not nerds!") lead characters. Fortunately, Ferris is an equally awful human being.
  • Grass Is Greener: Hollywood stardom and international fame isn't neccessarily all you need in life.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: How Ferris dresses in Hollywood.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Applies to both of Eugene's highly inventive creations: Tough Man and Super Hot Lady. Nobody calls Eugene out on this.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Ferris wants to fight Hector and claims to be highly skilled in Nintendo-Fu.
  • It Will Never Catch On: A girl suggests an idea for a show where a girl in a red swimsuit runs in slow motion but is shot down and told nobody would watch it.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Why Janey allows Eugene to head to Hollywood and leave her behind.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Hector tells the actor playing him to do this when they meet.
  • Mysterious Middle Initial: What the "S" in Eugene S. Hawking stands for is never specified.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Tough Man is weakened by love, meaning Super Hot Lady can never have him.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Ferris tells Carrie he's an actor working on a movie called "F To The Erris Electric Boogaloo".
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Hector says it about his attack on Gerhard because he thought he was the real Tough Man.
  • Opening Monologue: BRIAN BLESSED gives opening and closing monologues credited as "Space Lord".
  • Opening Scroll: The YouTube recording puts them over the opening and closing narrations.
  • Planet of Hats: Strongly implied to be the kind of world Tough Man assists on a daily basis.
  • Porn Stash: Ferris mentions wanting to through out his the magazine's under his mattress before his mom finds them.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: Not just the overall Aesop of the show, it even gets its own musical number.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Eugene can somehow dream about things that are actually happening in space.
  • Rags to Riches: Eugene starts out as an average, penniless kid bullied on the streets. His rapid introduction to Hollywood changes that overnight.
  • Ray Gun: Hector has one that gets mistaken for a prop by most of the other characters.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Despite a lot of stage time, Janey has no backstory, interests, or desires other than Eugene.
  • Sell-Out: Inevitable in any Hollywood-centric story. Eugene finds himself unable to control the adaptation of his concept almost immediately.
  • Shock and Awe: Hector can shoot lightning bolts when his powers come back.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous ones, to Comics and Geek Culture.
  • Showstopper: Go Eugenius! is the title song for good reason.
  • Space Clothes: Strongly implied with Super Hot Lady's actress, for in-universe Fanservice reasons.
  • Starving Artist: Apart from his closest friends, everyone thinks Eugene should give up on drawing comic books and plan for a real job.
  • Superheroes in Space: Tough Man travels from planet to planet doing Good Deeds and Righting Wrongs.
  • Take That!: According to the Epilogue; Lex's career came to a halt after producing the British Soap: Eldorado!
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: When Eugene asks who the boss is, Theo tells him he just cued a song and starts "A Little Kiss Ass".
  • Robot Buddy: Lord Hector has one called Kevin.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: Almost literally with Evil Lord Hector.
  • Twinkle Smile: Lex's commercial.
  • Villain Song: Lord Hector singing "Evil".
  • Written by Cast Member: In-Universe, Eugene plays a fish person in the movie he wrote.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Understandably for a Hollywood movie set, nobody is even slightly phased by a galactic overlord wandering around the place threatening people. Everyone marks it up to a hammy actor going over the top and moves on. Not being the brightest evil lord in the universe, Lord Hector finds himself going along with it.