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An Evening with ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’, New Theatre Oxford's Perfect Escape

By Nicola Boys


If you haven’t watched the classic film ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ from the '80s, you're in for a surprising treat with the musical adaptation. Even if the film is unfamiliar, the soundtrack is bound to strike a chord. Featuring iconic hits from the likes of Madonna, Bon Jovi, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, and more. The musical promises a nostalgic journey through some of the best-loved tunes of the era.


The story follows Zack Mayo, played by Luke Baker, on an emotional rollercoaster as he navigates loss, heartbreak, and a grueling training regime to become a fearless officer candidate. It’s a romantic and dreamy tale of two people destined to be together, illustrating that no challenge, obstacle, or person can stand in the way of true love. Zack's journey is not just about becoming an officer; it's about growing as a person, facing his past, and learning to love and trust.


While the musical is more adult than I initially expected, with some darker themes woven throughout, ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ is the perfect evening treat. It combines a feel-good, love story with classic musical hits. One of the standout aspects of the musical is its ability to balance the emotional weight of the story with moments of levity and joy. The supporting cast also shines, adding depth and nuance to the narrative.


The set design deserves a mention too. The scenes transition seamlessly, capturing the essence of the various settings—from the tough training grounds to the tender moments of romance and friendship. Having personally never see the original film, I quickly found myself being swept up in the nostalgia of a hazy 1980’s Florida bar. 


As an Oxford student, this musical was the perfect way to unwind from the stress of finals and the end-of-year pressures, offering a much-needed dose of romance and an evening of musical fun.



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