Review: An Officer and a Gentleman the musical, Ipswich Regent

An Officer and a Gentleman Picture: Officer and a Gentleman

An Officer and a Gentleman Picture: Officer and a Gentleman - Credit: Archant

Watch An Officer and a Gentleman the musical at the Ipswich Regent this week.

We’ve had Flashdance, Footloose and The Bodyguard – now the latest classic film to hit the stage is 1982s An Officer and a Gentleman.

Now I have to point out this is one of my favourite movies of all time. Swoon. Who didn’t want to be Paula, swept off her feet by a glorious Richard Gere, and crowned with a jaunty hat?

It’s a shame the opening night of the performance at the Ipswich Regent (part of a UK tour before the show hits the West End) wasn’t to a full house as there was so much talent on stage.

From the off it was clear production values were high, and the cast were stellar, boasting bold vocals from the get-go.

First to the staging, which was stark, but exquisitely lit – the central staircase casting haunting shadows in the most poignant moments.

Expect a car, motorbike, faux fire and full on bar (with pool table) in the course of proceedings – more than enough to suspend your disbelief.

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The pace of the musical moved along nicely. If you haven’t seen the film (how dare you) it’s basically about a bunch of guys (and a gal) training to be in the upper echelons of the US Navy’s aviation branch– the star turn being able to get ‘Jets’.

Rogue-ish Zach Mayo falls into the arms of local factory girl Paula Pokrifki, who dreams of getting out of the town that’s trapped her mother for decades.

In the lead Jonny Fines was good as Mayo, but for me didn’t quite have the right stage presence for this character. He was a little too baby-faced and not rogue-ish enough in the way he carried himself. But Fines did have great chemistry with Emma Williams as Paula, who proved herself a powerful, charismatic female lead (with far ranging vocals).

Ray Shell did a fantastic job balancing menace and comedy as the ever-looming training sergeant Foley.

And wowsers to Corinna Powlesland and Rachel Stanley as Aunt Bunny and Esther Pokrifki – those ladies can really sing. The audience was dazzled by Stanley’s solo turn, which had a flawless, moving hint of Joni Mitchell about it.

However the runaway talent for me was Ian McIntosh who so brilliantly and believably portrayed Sid Worley. He was at turns comedically dumb, a sweetheart, headstrong and heart-breaking, and his solo, with its strobing vocal effects was one of the absolutely highlights of the night – second only to THAT finale seeing the leads off into the sunset.

If you love a bit of romance, have a penchant for 80s hits (Material Girl, Blaze of Glory, Kids in America, I Want to Know What Love Is) get yourself a seat at the Regent this week. It’s one hell of a ride.