An Officer and a Gentleman

Theatre Royal Tuesday 23rd – Saturday 27th April 

Based on the iconic 1982 film, starring Richard Gear and Deborah Winger, An Officer and a Gentleman tells the tale of Zack Mayo, who was raised by his drunken father and aspires to become a navy pilot. He goes through a rigorous training camp and finally finds a father figure in Sergeant Foley and the love of his life Paula Poprifki. 

The aforementioned Sgt Foley is played by Jamal Crawford, who successfully embodies every shouty American drill Sergeant from the big screen. His opening scenes where he literally shouts into the faces of the officer candidates left me hoping he uses breath mints. The authenticity of his character holds up throughout the whole performance and to say he dominates the stage is an understatement. 

Underdog, Lieutenant Seegar, is played by Olivia Foster Browne, who is the only female candidate and wants to be the first woman to fly jets. Browne’s sassy portrayal, coupled with incredible vocals really stood out for me. The emotional scene where she finally manages to climb the wall is injected with humour and sees her being carried by the other men in the squad to achieve this goal. This move has been criticised as being insulting to the characters feminist narrative, but I saw it as a visual representation of the brotherhood and trust the squadron had cemented, this being one of the shows main themes. 

The performance is peppered with 80s classics from Madonna, Cindy Lauper, Bon Jovi and Blondie. Not to mention the classic track ‘Love Lift Us Up’ by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warner, which is teased by the orchestra during the whole performance and belted out during the finale where Mayo sweeps Paula off her feet in the iconic factory floor scene. 

Grab a glass of wine or two as singing along is encouraged by the cast, more so in the second half. It’s certainly worth watching if for nothing other than the white uniforms.

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Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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