BWW Interview: Rob Houchen Talks EUGENIUS! at The Other Palace
Rob Houchen is starring as Eugene in the sci-fi musical hit Eugenius!, currently enjoying a second run at The Other Palace.
He has previously played Gibran in Broken Wings and Marius in Les Misérables, and has also released two EPs.
Tell us about Eugene
Eugene is a dreamer with a big heart and imagination. He values his friendships and his love for comics and escaping reality in a fantasy world.
What is the most exciting thing about the Eugenius! universe?
Regarding the show, I actually love the comic book world and have always been a big fan of sketching and the comic movie franchise, so it's cool to live that out. The Eugenius! family itself are all such wonderful people and a joy to be around, so that helps a lot!
Have you spotted all the 80s references in the script yet?
I think I've got them all - but I may be wrong!
Is it nice to be back at The Other Palace?
Yeah, it's a great venue and a very cool pair of intimate spaces for people to feel part of what they're seeing.
Who or what influences your songwriting?
Eugenius! is a little different from the last show you were in: Broken Wings, a star-crossed romantic epic set in Beirut. What helped you to change gear so quickly?
I think you just have to shrug off what you've been doing, get back to your neutral self, and dive wholeheartedly straight into whatever you're given. It's great as actors that we get to play and explore all the sides of ourselves.
Shows like Eugenius! and Broken Wings present starkly different cultures on stage and are bringing new audiences to the theatre. What other stories do you think need to be told?
I think there are many great stories being told around the areas of mental health, isolation, struggles with identity etc. All of these are being approached in theatre as we speak and I hope this continues to be the case.
You've been part of a number of home-grown projects. How do you think the industry should cultivate and encourage British musical theatre writing?
Keep watching it! Broadway transfers are brilliant, but we also create some stellar work here in the UK. Sometimes it doesn't have big funding and so spreading the word of good theatre is so important.
You and Eugene have a lot in common with your amazing drawing skills. Outside of performing, you bake, you write music, you run businesses...is there anything you can't do?
I cannot play the accordion.
What advice would you give to other side-hustling people?
Do as much as you want/can. It is so fruitful to your mental and physical wellbeing.
Any other projects coming up that we should know about?
And finally, if you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I think it would be great to change into an animal...whatever you call that power!
Photo credit: Scott Rylander