In a world full of dazzling, rousing, impeccable musicals, An Officer and a Gentleman: The Musical doesn’t really have the script or staging to be a long-lasting hit.
That’s not to say the show isn’t enjoyable – it is, through uplifting hits such as Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and fun group numbers and dance routines. There are a few poignant moments in the plot, but mainly the show leaves on a high note and the cast bring plenty of energy to the stage.
The plot itself is relatively non-existent – two women fall in love with two men training to become Officers. Well, Paula (played well by Emma Williams, who I have to admit is probably a little too talented for this show) and Zack fall in love while Lynette tries to snare the inexperienced Sid in hope of a better life as an Officer’s wife. It doesn’t work out too well for Lynette (and definitely not for Sid) when he quits training. The best moment by far is Ian Mcintosh’s solo rendition of Family Man – unfortunately a lot of the songs are over-acted and too cheesy to bring any seriousness to the stage.
Jonny Fines as Zack doesn’t have quite the stage presence to pull off a bad boy role. Again, in a world where Gary Lucy or Danny Mac illuminate the stage, Fines falls flat. However, the supporting cast don’t help either and the show is pretty much carried by our two leading ladies: Emma Williams and Jessica Daley, plus some star moments from Ian Mcintosh.
The fight scenes and laughable pretend slap (the audience literally sees the actress slap her own hand), along with some of the more am-dram-esque dance routines, put the production in a slightly lower league than some of the other professional productions on tour currently. That’s not to say the show isn’t good fun, and doesn’t have some great cast members: it just doesn’t come error-free, and at such a high calibre you shouldn’t expect a 10-minute start delay and technical difficulties.
I haven’t seen the film version of An Officer and a Gentleman and, having seen this show, I don’t think it’s one for me. However, it would be interesting to note the differences between the two so I might give it a watch. It seems an ambitious musical adaptation and for fans of the film I’m sure the stage version will be a delight.
Catch the musical at Leeds Grand Theatre until 28th April 2018.
Photograph credited to Manuel Harlan.