An Of­fi­cer And A Gentle­man – The Mu­si­cal

The Mail on Sunday - Event - - THEATRE - Robert Gore-Lang­ton o ceranda­gentle­man­mu­si­

Le­ices­ter Curve Tour­ing to Sep 15, 2hrs 25mins

This is the mu­si­cal of the 1982 weepie star­ring Richard Gere as the bol­shie navy pi­lot who at the end fa­mously scoops De­bra Winger’s fac­tory girl off her feet to the strains of Up Where We Be­long.

Tay­lor Hack­ford’s film is not as corny as is of­ten made out, though. In fact it’s sur­pris­ingly gritty and erotic. The story of the two young­sters from the wrong side of the tracks fall­ing in love over 13 weeks with­out ei­ther quite ad­mit­ting to it is oddly com­pelling.

Paula is a fac­tory worker look­ing for a bet­ter life, Zack just wants to fly jets. But the film’s blend of ro­mance and Rea­gan-era, blue-col­lar taw­dri­ness – it in­cludes a sui­cide – is swamped here by its chore­og­ra­phy and a suc­ces­sion of more than 20 or­ches­trated Eight­ies hits, in­clud­ing Ma­te­rial Girl, Kids In Amer­ica, Girls Just Want To Have

Fun and The Fi­nal Count­down. None of the mu­sic does the play, co-adapted by orig­i­nal screen­writer Dou­glas Day Ste­wart, any good. Di­rec­tor Niko­lai Fos­ter does, how­ever, ex­tract two de­cent lead per­for­mances from Jonny Fines as Zack and Emma Wil­liams as Paula.

There’s also an ex­panded role for the only fe­male re­cruit, here feis­tily played by Keisha Atwell.

Ray Shell is cer­tainly mean enough as the hard-ass navy train­ing in­struc­tor Fo­ley but he’s too old for the part and the set-piece fight be­tween him and Zack is em­bar­rass­ing.

A toe-tap­per for those who want to be smil­ingly re­minded of the movie, its crisp, white navy uni­forms and its era. But if you are look­ing for any real depth of emo­tion, then this doesn’t get air­borne.

Emma Wil­liams as Paula and Jonny Fines as Zack

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