Jed Finnigan & Sharon Maxwell spend an evening watching some 80’s nostalgia 

If you are after getting your fix of 80s nostalgia, the look no further than An Officer and a Gentleman currently playing at the Palace Theatre in Manchester

The musical pretty much keeps to the plot of the 1982 fillm, with plenty of 80s bangers from the likes of Cindi Lauper, Bon Jovi and Madonna.

For those who remember the film,It is the Tstory of Zak Mayo and his quest to become a naval jet pilot.

The story follows friends Zak (played by Luke Baker) and Sid (played by Paul French) negotiating their way through basic training and relationships. It also tracks the friendship of factory workers Paula (played by Georgia Lennon) and Lynette (played by Julia Jones) in their quest to escape escape their mundane life.

The set relies a lot on neon lighting and minimal props. Which has the audience relying on their imagination (not always a bad thing).

As people who remembered and enjoyed the film, and loves 80s music we were excited to see how it had been adapted for stage.

We felt that although it follows the story, the musical numbers very much outweigh the dialogue and choreography and in parts detract from what is happening.

Some of the songs seem perfectly placed, and fit well whilst others seem inappropriate.

After the suicide scene in Act two the rapid follow up with the number The Final Countdown, drowned out any emotion or depth.

The first half was a bit flat ,although there were great bits too.

The Factory girls rendition of It’s a Mans Mans world, where you could feel the camaraderie between the women, was brilliant, and really stood out. In particular the performances of Melanie Masson, as Esther Pokrifki, and Wendi Harriot as Bunny, who both had phenomenal voices.

The second act was definately the stronger half, as the relationships between the couples developed.There were plenty more songs to sing along to, and Julia Jones as Lynette did a great version of the aptly named Material girl,with some great choreography

Overall the choreography did not stand out for us, their seemed a lot of marching and drills, so this was a highlight another highlight was when Jamal Kane Crawford, as the harsh taskmaster Sergeant Foley, came on stage.

His performance was oustanding and it was a joy to watch, as he berated the trainees with his fast paced dialogue, which he delivered perfectly.

We just want to say hats off to the whole cast, who were no doubt very talented performers , I just wish there had been more opportunities for them to showcase their characters more.

The iconic ending of course was uplifting and a real crowd pleaser. Everyone loves a happy ending,and Is there anything better than being whisked away by a handsome man in a uniform ?

Everyone, was suddenly on their feet cheering and applauding, and it ended the evening on a high.Overall it was an enjoyable evening, and if you love 80’s music we are sure you will enjoy it. I overheard someone say “Well it was alright , but i wouldn’t go again ” Which pretty much summed up our thoughts too.


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