Review: An Officer and A Gentleman at Newcastle Theatre Royal

Review: An Officer and A Gentleman at Newcastle Theatre Royal

I have to admit before attending tonight I hadn’t seen the film An Officer and a Gentleman so I was a bit clueless as to what the actual storyline entailed. However I did know that it is a well loved and iconic film that has lasted the ages and that it had none other than Richard Gere. 

How this would translate into a musical is another question, and one you needn’t worry about. The story itself is quite steady. I didn’t feel it really hit or led me up to any highs or lows but is consistent. 

The show brings to life the poignant story of Zack Mayo as he undergoes rigorous training to become a U.S. Navy pilot. Here at officer candidate school he meets new best friend and country boy Sid Worley. Together they endure the process together helping eachother along the way and both finding love along the way.

Luke Baker’s portrayal of Zack Mayo produces  a vocally impressive performance, coupled with an energetic choreography showcase this actors stamina and endurance. Georgia Lennon as Paula Pokrifki delivers equally fabulous vocal performance and the chemistry displayed between these two leads is easy to see.

Paul French as Sid Worley gives an emotional and warm performance in this character who strives to live up to family expectations against the reality of his own choices. Julia Jones is convincing as Lynette Pomeroy as much as her display of love is for her officer to be Worley before tragic circumstances ensue.

Vocal performances are delivered in strength by many in this production and so I’m not going to pick out any standouts as all are equal in their delivery and emotion.

The show is full of ’80s hits to enhance its storytelling, with songs like Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Blaze of Glory,” John Parr’s “St. Elmo’s Fire,” and Billy Ocean’s “When the Going Gets Tough” to help drive the narrative. These songs bring a nostalgic element to the production, appealing to fans of the era’s iconic soundtracks. I did wonder if they tried to pack too many into the show, however on reflection I quite enjoyed them all.

Staging is versatile. The set design is quite simple, utilising a mobile staircase and transitions between scenes taking us to a diner bar, naval training ground, and bedsit.  Neon writing is also used creating that retro vibe also.

Jamal Kane Crawford as Gunnery Sergeant Foley is enjoyable as he pitches these recruits through their paces. 

If you love a good coming of age journey, romance and a bundle of 80’s musical hits then this show is for you! I really enjoyed it and it has motivated me to go back and watch the actual film now.

An Officer and a Gentleman plays Newcastle Theatre Royal until Sat 18 May 2024. Tickets can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.

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