Boom. From the second the show starts this exceptional cast burst on to the stage with un-stoppable energy and breath-taking talent that they maintain until the curtain call.
This new version of An Officer and a Gentlemen, based on true events and adapted from the Oscar-winning film of the same name, can barely be contained to the stage. The sheer spectacle produced with help from the fantastic set down to the remarkable sound from the orchestra and the pure talent of the cast make for a truly wonderful new musical with the songs we
know and love that we have been crying out for.
The musical centres on the training base where several hopefuls are being put through their paces to become a US Navy Pilot.
The young rebel Zack Mayo turns up to boot camp on his motor bike full of swagger and is soon put in his place by the drill sergeant. After he and his best friend and colleague both fall for two very different but very ambitious local girls, we watch a story of love, friendship, heartbreak and courage unfold.
It’s no surprise this show is so sleek and well put together with direction from Nikolai Foster (Artistic Director, Curve). Every possible gap is filled with a theatrical moment that brings the characters and the action to life, leaving no chance for the audience to disengage with the world created on stage. The set changes are the definition of slick and the imposing set itself, which incorporates technology and projection in such a way that never detracts from the action, by Michael Taylor (Set and Costume Design) is truly impressive. Everything really does complement each other in this show, down to the lighting design (Ben Cracknell) and booming use of sound (Tom Marshall).
But no amount of technology or clever set design can ever take away from a cast such as this. Every single company member performs as one well-oiled machine, and gives one hundred percent. Some truly special moments came when the company sang together and in one instance came from the female company members singing ‘It’s a man’s man’s man’s world’, which was beautifully rearranged and featured some wonderful harmonies.
There really were some stand-out solo performances too. Jonny Fines played Zack Mayo and his incredible voice and display of athletic strength and ability in some of the gruelling boot camp sessions made him the perfect leading man. His on-stage sweetheart Paula Pokrifki was played with poise and passion by Emma Williams who too has an amazing voice, their on stage chemistry was sizzling and the moments when they sang together and about each other were heart wrenching. Another one of many beautiful moments comes from the duet ‘Don’t cry out loud’ between Paula and her mother Esther Pokrifki (Rachel Stanley).
Other notable mentions have to be the drill sergeant who has all of the best comedy lines. Ray Shell plays Emil Foley and manages to make him the meanest yet most loveable drill sergeant that you can’t wait to deliver his lines every time he comes on stage. Ian McIntosh excellently portrays Sid Worley who is kind hearted and keen spirited but struggling with his inner demons. His on-stage love interest Lynette Pomeroy is played by Jessica Daley, who also has an incredible singing voice and portrays the poor factory girl looking to find a way out superbly.
The characters are multi-layered, the story is gripping, the set is incredible, every inch of the stage is filled with talent and you will have heard every single song, this is not a musical that you can miss.
An Officer and a Gentleman plays the Liverpool Empire until Saturday 26th May 2018. To book tickets and to see the range of ticket prices please click here.