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:
- Actor/Role Confusion: The evil intergalactic despot believes that the actor playing Tough Man really is his namesake space hero, and challenges him. Unlike most instances of the trope, he realises his mistake pretty quickly.
- 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.
- 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...
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!...
- Foil: Eugene's friend Ferris is this to almost everyone else.
- 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.
- 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 Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Why Janey allows Eugene to head to Hollywood and leave her behind.
- Planet of Hats: Strongly implied to be the kind of world Tough Man assists on a daily basis.
- Proud to Be a Geek: Not just the overall Aesop of the show, it even gets its own musical number.
- Rags to Riches: Eugene starts out as an average, penniless kid bullied on the streets. His rapid introduction to Hollywood changes that overnight.
- Sell-Out: Inevitable in any Hollywood-centric story. Eugene finds himself unable to control the adaptation of his concept almost immediately.
- 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.
- Tom the Dark Lord: Almost literally with Evil Lord Hector.
- 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.