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REVIEW: An Officer and a Gentleman the musical (UK Tour, Glasgow 2024)

Updated: Mar 20

5 March 2024

The King's Theatre, Glasgow


An Officer and a Gentleman the musical (UK Tour)

An Officer and a Gentleman the musical is based on the award-winning 1982 film of the same name. Starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger, it's a romantic classic but also, just a great film. Was there anyone alive then who didn't want to be carried away by a man in white uniform? *swoon*

As seems to be trendy these days, the successful 80's film has been given the jukebox musical treatment and has been reimagined as a theatre production. But does it work on the stage?

On paper it should. It has everything you want from a musical: An engaging story, characters to root for and a soundtrack full of great songs. But unfortunately, it falls completely flat. I have never heard the Glasgow King's Theatre audience so quiet - and that speaks volumes.

Luke Baker as Zack Mayo in An Officer and a Gentleman the musical. Credit Marc Brenner

The story sees US Naval Officer candidate Zack Mayo (Luke Baker) arrive for training in Pensacola, Florida where he and his cohorts find themselves at the mercy of a ruthless drill instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley (Jamal Kane Crawford). The Officer candidates are warned about the poor, local girls who are desperate to marry a pilot and who will do anything to trap them. When Zack meets Paula Pokrifki (Georgia Lennon) he has to learn to tackle his own inner demons if he wants to graduate as both an Officer and a Gentleman.

Luke Baker is fantastic in the lead role of Zack Mayo. His voice is stunning. Soulful, rocky, seductive - he showed it off to perfection during Bon Jovi's 'Blaze of Glory.' Melanie Masson likewise stands out with a strong, powerful performance as Paula's tormented mum, Esther Pokrifki.

Melanie Masson as Esther Pokrifki in An Officer and a Gentleman the musical. Credit Marc Brenner

As with the film, the best parts of the musical are those that focus on the Naval training and varied characters hoping to make it through the course. The intensity and intimacy of the high-stakes situation sees the young people from varied backgrounds make friends (and enemies) for life. Paul French is great as Sid Worley. He was incredible as Rooster in the recent tour of Annie and it's wonderful to see him with a bigger role here. Playing a seaman he may be, but he can't hide those dance skills. I'm a huge fan! Olivia Foster-Browne has everyone on her side as the struggling Casey Seagar. And Jamal Kane Crawford does a fine job with the drill sergeant's rapid dialogue.

Paul French as Sid Worley in An Officer and a Gentleman the musical. Credit Marc Brenner

The full ensemble dance numbers is where this show comes alive. With fun choreography by Joanne Goodwin, every member of the company throws themselves into the routines with conviction. There are some fantastic dancers on that stage!

The cast of An Officer and a Gentleman the musical. Credit Marc Brenner

The main issue I had with An Officer and a Gentleman was the music and singing. Featuring songs from the likes of Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie and more, the arrangement of every single musical number in this show was odd. I understand changing up a song to make it your own, but none here improved on the original. It sounded as if the band and the singers on stage were out of synch and not in the same key. The actors voices conflicted with one another, and the end result was, I'm sorry to say, painful.

It's strange because the cast is full of wonderful singers; when singing alone or acapella this was evident. But what I thought may be teething issues - first night in a new venue after all - persisted throughout the entire show. For a musical to miss the mark on almost every musical number is unforgivable.

The set is basic but fitting, and the lighting from Ben Cracknell really only starts to have an impact in Act II. Act II is infinitely better than Act I. The energy is better, the military routines are striking and there is a fight scene done very well with dramatic music, lights and skillful choreography that made me long for what could've been.

The entire show though is building up to the final scene and the final song when Zack lifts Paula 'Up where she belongs' and carries her out of the factory. That's what the audience are waiting for! And you can't help but be carried away with the rousing music and emotion of it all. I cheered along with everyone else.

(Love lift us) Up Where We Belong by Joe Cocker was an original song written for the movie. It won a Grammy, an Oscar and a Golden Globe and it's the perfect stirring tear-jerker for the final act. But it does feel as though the entire musical has been written around this moment (it has). The final couple of minutes can't make up for the disappointing 2 hour show that has come before.

I have the utmost respect for the cast and creatives involved with this production and I hope something can be done to fix the issues mentioned. The cast tried their absolute best but something just wasn't right. Beside the sound issues, there was no drama, no tension. The show never took off and it certainly didn't land.


Also playing in Glasgow this week the brilliant Peter Pan Goes Wrong is at the Theatre Royal. Read more here

An Officer and a Gentleman is at the King's Theatre, Glasgow until Saturday 9th March.

🎟️Tickets: (AD - affiliate link)

📸 Production photos: Marc Brenner

Olivia Foster-Browne as Casey Seagar in An Officer and a Gentleman the musical. Credit Marc Brenner


An Officer and a Gentleman Cast

Scottish actress and X Factor finalist Melanie Masson joins the cast of AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN THE MUSICAL as Esther Pokrifki. Melanie grew up in Cathcart and appeared in the ninth series on The X Factor and was mentored by Take That’s Gary Barlow. She will star in the show alongside the previously announced Luke Baker as Zack Mayo, Georgia Lennon as Paula Pokrifiki, Jamal Crawford as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley, Paul French as Sid Worley and Sinead Long as Lynette Pomeroy.

Further casting includes Tim Rogers (West Side Story, UK Tour) as Byron Mayo, Olivia Foster-Browne (Grease, West End) as Casey Seegar and Lucas Piquero (Sister Act, Frankfurt) as Eduardo Cortez with Chris Breistein (School of Rock, UK Tour) as Finman, Wendi Harriott (The Voice UK) as Aunt Bunny, James Wilkinson-Jones (South Pacific Sadler's Wells/UK Tour) as Troy and Danny Whelan (Miss Saigon, Sheffield Crucible) as Craig. The cast is completed by Julia Jones (MAMMA MIA! The Party, The O2), Etisyai Philip (Cluedo, UK Tour), Mia Harrison (Million Dollar Quartet, Norwegian Cruise Line), Lukin Simmonds (Annie, UK Tour), Will May (The Twelve Tenors, European Tour) and Ellie Grace Cousins (MAMMA MIA!, Novello Theatre).

AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN THE MUSICAL has a book by Douglas Day Stewart & Sharleen Cooper Cohen and will be directed by Artistic Director of Curve, Nikolai Foster, with set & costume design by Michael Taylor, choreography by Joanna Goodwin, musical supervision and orchestration by George Dyer, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Tom Marshall, wig, hair and make up design by Sam Cox, musical direction by Christopher Duffy, casting by Debbie O’Brien and associate direction by Michaela Powell. This Made at Curve production is produced by Jamie Wilson, Jack Maple, Gavin Kalin and Jason Haigh-Ellery in association with Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros Theatre Ventures.


An Officer and a Gentleman SCOTTISH LISTINGS and tickets

The King’s Theatre, Glasgow

5 – 9 March 2024

Tue - Sat at 19:30

Wed, Thu and Sat at 14:30

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen

8 – 12 October 2024

Tue - Sat at 19:30

Thu at 14:00

Sat at 14:30

An Officer and a Gentleman the musical (UK Tour)


🎟️ Disclosure: I was invited to review this show and received a complimentary ticket in exchange for my time and for writing this review. Neither the venue nor show has a say in what I write. I'm completely independent, and whether I am invited or not has no impact on my reviews or star ratings.

📸 Find Lisa in the Theatre on Instagram for more stagey photos and videos.

REVIEW - An Officer and a Gentleman the musical (UK Tour) at Glasgow King's Theatre, March 2024.

Lisa in the theatre. Scottish theatre reviewer. UK theatre blog. Glasgow Theatre. Edinburgh Theatre. Scotland theatre.


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