The Other Palace
Eugene is your typical geek (not nerd!) who is writing a comic that is based around the hero Tough Man, his sidekick Super Hot Lady and his brother The Evil Lord Hector. When Hollywood come to his school searching for a story-line from undiscovered talent for their next big blockbuster movie, Janey (one of Eugene's two best friends) encourages him to show his comic. Soon enough he is whisked away to Hollywood where his story is produced. But by some sort of miracle, Eugene's story is actually true - and The Evil Lord Hector really exists. He comes down from space to try and kill his brother Tough Man, and Eugene has to discover that there is a Tough Man inside of him in order to save everybody from Hector. Just try not to think about it too hard.
The musical is 80's inspired, so littered with references to Star Wars, Star Trek but also the occasional Les Mis and Monsters Vs Aliens. The score by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins is bursting with energy and it is impossible not to leave the theatre without at least one of the incredibly catchy songs firmly stuck in your head. They were sung so well by the cast and I loved every last one, however silly they were. In the finale, I was almost tempted to get up and shout "Go Eugenius!" along with the cast. It should be noted that at least half of the audience already were, with one lady mouthing along to the entire show; songs, script and even actions - you name it she knew it! I have my suspicions that there were a lot of friends and family in the audience as well as some die hard fans. A lady who appeared next to me after the interval had already seen the matinee the same day.
The whole cast was brilliant, and there were some really great performances. Eugene played by Liam Forde (making his UK debut) was sensitive and vulnerable, making a very lovable character (with a killer voice!) Laura Baldwin makes her third appearance at The Other Palace, this time as Janey. She sang fantastically and shone especially brightly in her hilarious solo "The Future's Bright". Daniel Buckley was great fun to watch as Eugene's best friend Feris - perhaps the ultimate geek. He did a rather fantastic rap. Scott Paige as Theo, the camp assistant of Lex (the producer in Hollywood), was hysterical. His comic timing was excellent and I was completely caught up in watching him even when he was not the main action on stage.
The musical in itself was simply a whole load of fun. Yes, it was a little bit silly, or even a lot-a-bit silly, but it was just so entertaining. I don't think that it can get much more fun than a) watching a brilliant cast who look like they're having the time of their lives singing ridiculously catchy songs, and b) being in an audience who are ready to just sit back and have fun! I would recommend this to anyone who loves the 80s, loves musicals (especially brand spanking new ones), or loves all things geeky. It is perfect for anyone in their teens up - I'd have liked to see more young people there! Overall a really fun, upbeat, uplifting musical - just let your hair down and enjoy.
For £15 you can sit right at the front (side) or right at the back. I was at the front and I recommend that the back seats might offer a better view. The stage was small and in the really big numbers it was difficult to see past the two actors closest to me. Also, some of the action took place on the higher level of the stage, so you really had to crane your neck to see. It's also incredibly loud down there, sandwiched between two speakers. On the other hand, it is fun to see all the little things that the actors are doing that you might miss if you were higher up.