An Officer and a Gentleman review


Georgia Lennon and Luke Baker in An Officer and a Gentleman The Musical (credit Marc Brenner)


An Officer and a Gentleman The Musical, The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham.


I have to admit, I’ve not seen the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman (sorry). I do know however that it contained a huge hit song (“Up Where We Belong”) and an iconic scene where Richard Gere (wearing a white naval suit) carried Debra Winger off into the sunset. Therefore I don’t know if this is a good adaptation. It does however contain both of the above.

Billed as a musical (it’s more of a play with songs shoehorned in) it follows recruits at a Navy Officer Candidate School. Our lead character Zack Mayo (Luke Baker) has issues. His mother has committed suicide. His father is an alcoholic. He struggles with the tough drill instructor sergeant (Jamal Crawford). He does however meet local factory worker Paula Pokrifki (Georgia Lennon) who is about to be (literally swept off her feet).

For this “musical” the aforementioned “Up Where We Belong” is accompanied by numerous other 80’s hits by the likes of Bon Jovi, Cyndi Lauper, Foreigner, Kim Wilde and Madonna. The songs are iconic. For me the best was “Family Man” by Hall & Oates (accompanied by an emotional performance from Paul French as Luke’s friend Sid).

The set is utilised well, with metal strip walls being lit in neon to represent various locations, and scaffolding on wheels doing the same.

The cast are great – especially Melanie Masson as Paula’s mother Esther, and Sinead Long as Paula’s friend Lynette. The vocals are excellent.

If I have one niggle, the whole show could’ve used a bit more pace. It felt quite slow in places. I think the issue is the piece is quite melancholic and then when you have melancholic versions of 80’s songs it can leave it all feeling a bit down and flat. It could’ve done with a bit more of the energy that is present in the encore which had the whole audience on their feet. The sound levels could also have been raised. There is also a vary strange choice of scene at a dinner table that had an actor sitting with his back to the audience – completely masking the leading lady that was sat opposite him.

Overall a very slick production that is full of 80’s nostalgia.


Four stars (with a few tweaks could be 5). Let love lift you up.


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