An Officer and a Gentleman: The Musical – Review – Bradford Alhambra

An Officer and a Gentleman The Musical – Review – Bradford Alhambra (2)

By Christine Goode, March 2024

The highly anticipated musical conversion of An Officer and a Gentleman marches its way to the magnificent Bradford Alhambra Theatre. Many of those who lived through the 1980s will remember swooning over a very handsome Richard Gere in the romantic drama of the same name with the iconic ending. It was the ultimate modern fairytale that had young women dreaming of meeting their Prince Charming and being swept off their feet to live happily ever after – and, if nothing else, it certainly raised the bar for marriage proposals.

The screenplay, written by Douglas Day Stewart, takes us into the world of the United States Aviation Officer Training School. Not only does the story follow the rigorous training programme that the candidates are put through, but it also gives us an insight into the struggles of life that people faced in the 1980s. The musical tackles heavy subjects such as discrimination, disadvantaged backgrounds, and suicide.

In 2015, Nikolai Foster started work by taking the iconic film and bringing it to the stage. The musical went on a successful short tour in 2018. Adding some favourite hit songs from the eighties, the film has now been turned into a jukebox musical.

An Officer and a Gentleman The Musical – Review – Bradford Alhambra (3)

“Convincing performance”

As we take our seats, an American newsreel sets the tone of the era. The curtain rises and we see an impressive set with a brutalist architectural feel, with bright contrasting neon signs that acknowledge the 1980s. Kicking off with Status Quo’s ‘You’re in the Army Now’ (changed to navy), the cast come out dressed in civilian clothes, long hair, suitcases ready to start their journey to become Navy Officers. We meet Zac Mayo, played by local lad Luke Baker, and Sid Worley, played by Paul French. Both Baker and French are excellent and give heartfelt performances showing superb vocals, dance qualities, and exceptional fitness.

Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley, played by Jamal Kane Crawford, gives a fine performance as he commands and trains his fledgling squad of trainees, displaying great hip-hop skills. Paula Pokrifki, played by Georgia Lennon, gives a convincing performance as Zac’s love interest, along with her best friend Lynette Pomeroy, played by Sinead Long who gives a memorable performance with the ensemble cast as they sing Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’, with a nod to its famous video. The pink jackets and jewellery are a fun touch.

The heavy set is moved around by stage crew dressed as navy base ground crew fitting well within the scene, leaving the smaller props and scenery to be moved around by the cast seamlessly as they sing. The first half of the show lacked some lustre but it does pick up in the second half, despite the show having to be stopped due to a sudden compromise of a cast member. The show quickly restarts with understudy Etisyai Philip competently stepping up to give a great performance.

An Officer and a Gentleman The Musical – Review – Bradford Alhambra (1)


Legendary songs included are ‘This Is A Man’s World,’ ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,’ ‘I Want to Know What Love Is,’ and the iconic ‘Up Where We Belong’. However, there are 22 songs in the show, and even as a musical theatre enthusiast, this is overkill. At times certain songs do not fit the mood and the overall production loses focus because of it.

The choreography by Joanna Goodwin is fitting from fun-relaxed to formal formation style fit for a parade. The lighting design by Ben Cracknell is clever, representing jets as they fly over the naval training base.

There were a few problems with mics in the first half as characters exchanged lines and the overall flow of the show felt disruputed. However, despite this, the finale is uplifting, bringing back all the memories of the famous scene from the eighties where the Officer, who is a true Gentleman, sweeps his girl off her feet, and she finally gets her man.

‘An Officer and a Gentleman: The Musical’ is at Bradford Alhambra until 30 March
images: Marc Brenner


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