When Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins met working on a show together, they discovered they had a lot in common; a love of musicals, comic books and playing Mortal Kombat to name just a few, but it was a night in the pub that saw Eugenius! created.
“We started just writing a stand-alone song, but kept coming back to this idea of a musical, we’ve both got different backgrounds but our ideas really cross-over nicely, and it’s been truly collaborative” says Chris, “and it’s been great working with Ben because it’s nice to work with someone who works so hard, and drives me to do the same, it’s been a lot of fun.”
Ben goes on to explain that after deciding to work together, their love of musicals led them to write Eugenius! “It’s about a young guy from America who writes comic books, and those comic books get picked up by a Hollywood production company to get made in to a movie. But it turns out a lot of his creations come to life, and start coming on to the Hollywood set to create havoc”
“It’s more than a musical” says Chris, “It’s a love letter to the eighties and the films of the time, like The Goonies and all those comic book movies. But also, the fantastic music that inspired us from that era, that Ben and I have grown up loving. It’s actually feels amazing to create a brand-new show, with brand-new music from the eighties, so when we watch it we feel like we’ve gone back in time, that’s the best feeling in the world and I’ll never get tired of it.”
Both Ben and Chris were born in the eighties, as Ben explains; “There’s a lot of scope with the eighties, this show is unapologetically loud and funny, there’s something so joyous about the eighties as an era and we just wanted to pull out everything we loved from that time and put it on the stage”
Chris agrees, “It’s an innocent time, we all seem to grow up so fact now with social media, but back then it felt like you were innocent longer, when we decided to make it about comic books it really had to be set back then when it was geeky, now it’s cool to be in to comic books and we needed an underdog to root for.”
So, who is the biggest geek out of the two writers? “I bring the cool to Eugenius!, Chris brings the geek!” laughs Ben, “no, I think everyone has a bit of a geek inside them, even if they don’t show it, but we both do! I think everyone is really a geek at heart”
Eugenius! had it’s first public performance as a concert version at The London Palladium, the response was overwhelming and saw a full production staged at The Other Palace earlier this year, and now thanks to the support of the show’s fans it’s back for a second run with some new cast members, “It’s the fans who have brought it back, and I’m sure it will be them who take it on the next part of its journey” says Ben.
Chris explains that Eugenius! has a treat in store for ‘Superfans’ with ‘Superfan Sundays’, “There will be Q&A’s plus special gifts and prizes, plus some merchandise that will only be available on Superfan Sundays, we wanted to thank people for supporting us, and it feels like a nice crossover between the musical theatre world, and Comic-Con.”
What is it about Eugenius! that has helped create such a following? “I think if you speak to anyone who has seen Eugenius! they’ll describe just how absolutely elated they feel after seeing it, it’s just so much fun” explains Ben, “but also, it’s about being yourself, and not having to be somebody else to please anyone.”
Eugenius! is at The Other Palace 1st September – 7th October 2018.