An Officer and a Gentleman the Musical at The Alexandra, Birmingham - Review

An Officer and a Gentleman the Musical at The Alexandra, Birmingham - Review


Posted 2024-02-27 by Andy Colemanfollow

Fri 23 Feb 2024 - Sat 02 Mar 2024

It’s back to the ‘80s at Birmingham’s Alexandra this week, with one of the biggest films of the decade being recreated on stage, complemented by a soundtrack of hits by the likes of Bon Jovi, Madonna, Kiss and Foreigner.

An Officer and a Gentleman the Musical begins energetically, with officer training candidates performing their version of Status Quo’s In the Army Now (retitled In The Navy Now) as they arrive at the United States Naval Aviation Training Facility in Pensacola, Florida, for 12 gruelling weeks of instruction and assessment.

Energetic: The cast of An Officer and a Gentleman the Musical. Pic: Marc Brenner

The scene then shifts to the Pensacola Paper Factory where we meet workers, mainly female, who sing It's a Man's Man's Man's World as they dream of escaping the drudgery of nine-to-five labour. Some believe this can be achieved by hooking up with the high-flying navy candidates. The focus falls on Paula Pakrifki (played by Georgia Lennon), Zack Mayo (Luke Baker), Lynette Pomeroy (Sinead Long) and Sid Worley (Paul French). As their relationships develop, their backstories are revealed and the reasons for their ambitions and aspirations become apparent.

Relationship: Georgia Lennon and Luke Baker. Pic: Marc Brenner

The performers adopt American accents, which may be authentic but it sometimes make the dialogue difficult for a UK audience to understand. That's not a problem with the singing. Georgia Lennon’s considerable vocal talents are showcased during a show-stopping version of Heart’s 1987 power ballad Alone, and on I Want To Know What Love Is, a duet with Luke Baker. Sinead Long is also impressive, owning the stage with Madonna’s Material Girl (although recreating parts of the original video is probably unnecessary).

There are also notable performances from Jamal Crawford as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley and Olivia Foster-Brown as trainee Casey Seegar.

Impressive: Jamal Crawford with Luke Baker. Pic: Marc Brenner

The first act is occasionally a little ragged but in the second act the tempo is raised a notch or two and emotions that have been bubbling beneath the surface begin to boil over. The cast pull out all the stops as the show heads for a crescendo with The Final Countdown, You’re The Voice and the Oscar-winning Up Where We Belong. They were rewarded on press night with a standing ovation from the audience. The plot may be cheesy but if you're a fan of soft rock and power pop this should provide a satisfying night out.

Crescendo: The factory girls dream of a different life. Pic: Marc Brenner

This musical version of An Officer and a Gentleman premiered in 2018. Birmingham’s Alexandra is the first venue for the 2024 tour , which continues around the UK until October. It's at The Alexandra until March 2.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


#theatre reviews
#performing arts
279196 - 2024-02-27 12:49:51


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