An officer and a Gentleman the Musical is the latest in an excellent series of Made at Curve productions and I was filled with excitement to catch the world premiere in Leicester this week.
An Officer and a Gentleman the Musical is based on the hugely popular 1982 film of the same name. The story is simple; a group of aspiring military officers go through hell in their quest to become pilots whilst the local factory girls try to win them over and gain their ticket out. The intrigue within the story stems from each characters background and as their lives become intertwined this simple story gains depth and power – tackling topics such as sexism, drinking and suicide.
The cast list for this production is quite something. The amount of talent on stage was spectacular and together this cast are extremely powerful. Emma Williams is outstanding as Paula showing both her gutsy and softer sides alongside incredibly powerful vocals. Her partner in crime Lynette was brilliantly portrayed by Jessica Daley and I enjoyed Rachel Stanley’s performance as Paula’s mother. Jonny Fines and Ian McIntosh impressed as the 2 leading males bringing gutsiness and emotion to the stage.
Despite phenomenal performances from the cast though, the production felt far too cheesy with not enough grit. The adaption to stage musical has seen the story littered with corny 80’s classics which feel clunky and haphazard at times. The flow of the story was brilliant during spoken scenes but felt interrupted by the random 80’s ballads. Despite a few fitting numbers (St Elmo’s Fire), the majority left the show feeling like a poor jukebox musical.
The set was impressive and felt appropriately industrial and projection was used to further set the scene. Excellent costume and lighting design pulled everything together to create a visually pleasing piece. Unfortunately for me, when the front shutters were open I had a clear view into the wings where bed changes and cast catch ups distracted from the action on stage.
Overall, this musical has a lot to offer with a phenomenal cast and an engaging storyline but unfortunately, lacks the grit and emotional impact that would send it over the top. The random feeling 80’s pop songs make the production feel cheesy and awkward despite having all the ingredients to be powerful and hard hitting. I hope the team polish this one off because it could be incredible but right now, the show feels clunky and disjointed. Still, its a nice story with some incredible moments and is worth seeing if only for the vocals!
An Officer and a Gentleman the Musical will be touring the UK until September 2019. For info, tour dates and tickets click here!
*Production Images by Manuel Harlan