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Bear with me: Sun Bear @ParkTheatre

If The Light House is an uplifting tale of survival, Sarah Richardson’s Sun Bear gives a contrasting take on this. Sarah plays Katy. We’re introduced to Katy as she runs through a list of pet office peeves with her endlessly perky coworkers, particularly about coworkers stealing her pens. It’s a hilarious opening monologue that would have you wishing you had her as a coworker to help relieve you from the boredom of petty office politics.  But something is not quite right in the perfect petty office, where people work together well. And that is her. And despite her protesting that she is fine, the pet peeves and the outbursts are becoming more frequent. As the piece progresses, maybe the problem lies in a past relationship, where Katy had to be home by a particular hour, not stay out late with office colleagues and not be drunk enough not to answer his calls. Perhaps the perky office colleagues are trying to help, and perhaps Katy is trying to reach out for help. It has simple staging

Holding out for a hero: Eugenius @TheOtherPalace

You get the sense you’re witnessing the birth of a new cult musical at Eugenius. Some audience members appear to know the choreography, songs and bad jokes in advance of those experiencing it for the first time. And this isn’t such a bad thing. Particularly with its supercharged cast and uplifting eighties-inspired soundtrack this show rocks. It’s back atThe Other Palace after a successful run earlier this year. 

The book music and lyrics are by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins. The songs are inspired with their upbeat eighties sound. Keyboards, sax solos and electric guitars abound. And there are a mix of ballads and hilarious songs to keep things irresistible. But they have to compete with a convoluted story seems like a mash up of Blood Brothers, Rock of Ages and Galaxy Quest.

Teenage boy Eugene (Rob Houchen), dreams of a distant world where superhero Tough Man and Super Hot Lady fight against the Evil Lord Hector. His nerdy friends Janey (Laura Baldwin) and Feris (Daniel Buckley) encourage him to put his ideas to paper.  So soon hie finds himself with a contract in Hollywood where fantasy and reality begins to converge.

And although the story gets bogged down with it’s Hollywood subplot, it’s hard not to like a show with a robot called Kevin and some seriously terrific wigs and costumes. Adams and Wilkins have an ear for a catchy tune and everyone looks like they’re having a fabulous time. Well maybe except for the band who sit on stage looking lifeless. 

Houchen with his strong tenor vocals deftly handles the demands of the music. And Baldwin is a delight as the nerdy girl with a super hot streak underneath. 

Directed by Ian Talbot with choreography by Aaron Renfree, Eugenius is at The Other Palace until 21 October. Go Eugenius!


Photos by Scott Rylander

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