An Officer and a Gentleman The Musical graces UK stages 36 years after the smash-hit Hollywood movie starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger. Ellie Woolman reviews the touring production:

Based on the film of the same name, An Officer and a Gentleman is a simple Cinderella love story adored by generations and remains prevalent decades after its movie premiere. It’s not particularly ground-breaking, but it is thrilling and beautiful as it’s set out to be. The new stage show brings the much-loved cult film to life, packed with pizzazz and classic 80s music for a fun, heart-warming evening at the theatre.

An Officer And A Gentleman Theatre Royal Plymouth

Zach Mayo & Emma Williams

The story follows Zack Mayo (Jonny Fines), an aspiring U.S. Navy Aviator Officer and his struggle through the thirteen-week training programme. At a Navy Ball, Mayo and Sid Worley (Ian McIntosh) meet two young female factory workers, Paula Pokrifki (Emma Williams) and Lynette Pomeroy (Jessica Daley). The Navy programme progresses, romances blossom and break. But will Zack choose the dream job or the dream girl?

However, the context of working-class Pensacola, Florida in the early 1980s becomesan interesting aspect of the plot. Calls for women’s rights are finally beginning to be heard in the military and Casey Seegar (Keisha Atwell) is a powerful character who reflects just that. A young black woman from a disadvantaged background is finally accepted onto the programme to pursue her dream of being the first female US Navy Aviator Officer. As the strongest and most determined of the trainees, Seegar adds a riveting aspect to the show. A bit of girl power amid the romance and 80s bops is a nice touch.

An Officer And A Gentleman Theatre Royal Plymouth

Keisha Atwell

An Officer And A Gentleman is carried along by a score of iconic 80s music, including It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Living On A Prayer. There is a fine line between amusing pop-culture references and too much cheese – this show embraces that and the songs are well curated to fit the plot. The actors are musical theatre trained and bring a new dynamic to the well-known songs; they are more powerful and meaningful than typically heard in a pop context.

The choreography lets the showdown – It’s not particularly stimulating and needs to be slicker as some parts are messy. But An Officer and a Gentleman will make you laugh, cry and fall in love. The exhilarating score provides emotion and thrill to the story and is performed exquisitely by the cast.

 

 

★★★☆☆

An Officer And A Gentleman ran at Theatre Royal Plymouth until 25 August 2018 as part of a UK tour. For further information, please visit the musical website.