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  • David Robinson

An Officer and a Gentleman

Alexandra Theatre until the 2nd of March

*** 3 stars “For a great night out its definitely up there”

Continuing the popular trend of transferring iconic movies to the stage “An Officer and a Gentleman” began its extensive UK and Ireland tour in Birmingham at The Alexandra this week. Plenty of heart on parade mixed up with a fair bit of testosterone, a few tears, and a handy jukebox of eighties floor fillers. At its core it is of course a love story and a straightforward one at that. But it is a pleasing if familiar type of tale, hopeful recruits Zack Mayo (Luke Baker) and Sid Worley (Paul French) when they are not trying to earn their commission and impressing Sergeant Foley (Jamal Crawford) are viewed attracting the interests of local girls Paula (Georgia Lennon) and Lynette (Sinead Long.)

The directorial and technical line up is an impressive one. Tight direction from Nikolai Foster and a hugely effective industrial look created by Michael Taylor and Ben Cracknell the set and lighting designers respectively.

Baker developed into a very watchable and keenly crafted Zack, with just the right balance of power and innocence required to engage with the audience. Georgia Lennon as Paula produces some admirable vocals and through her empathetic portrayal aids us with the understanding of Zack and his torments. Paul French is on superb form as Sid and his relationship with Lynette serves up the most emotion in the evening. Sinead Long’s vocal power is a memorable highlight. Jamal Crawford as the Gunnery Sergeant Major cuts a dominating figure in more ways than one and demands your attention throughout.

The soundtrack is a quick dash through an eighties sound book, some a little incongruous for me, shortened versions somewhat shoehorned into the narrative. There was far too much standing and delivering with arms around shoulders as far as the musical numbers were concerned. There is also a few too many sound issues to iron out, with a slice of the dialogue being missed on too many occasions.

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