BEHIND a stage screen of dated film/TV clip montages and magazine cuttings are projections of a plane taking off as passengers sing In the Navy Now, heralding the beginning of Zack Mayo’s (Jonny Fines) journey on the path towards his dream career as a jet pilot.

Of course, all of this preceded by the opening sounds of an orchestral version of the source film’s celebrated theme tune, Up Where We Belong.

The plot of the original 1982 film, starring the Oscar-winning Richard Gere and Debra Winger, is closely followed with musical numbers inspired by its colourful decade.

Sarah Travis and Tom Marshall’s sound production is generally a well-chosen batch of 80s’ hits that both fit and propel the narrative with a few misjudged numbers that would potentially work with tweaked direction, vocals and accompanying orchestral volume.

The quality of performances unfortunately wildly varies between lively bar duets like Livin’ on a Prayer and Blaze of glory to a stand-out performance of Toy Soldiers and tuneless versions of hits like Kids in America and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

Cast having to battle to be heard over excessively loud accompaniments may explain many of the songs sounding more like a friendly sing-along or enthusiastic amateur dramatics performance, rather than that of voice-trained actors.

Michael Taylor’s set design, however, is one of the show’s real strengths with slick seamless flitting between locations as factory stairs transform into Sergeant Foley’s watch tower on the base as he overlooks navy hopefuls tackling an obstacle course, testing their fitness, in a well-choreographed training session.

Unfortunately, not all of Kate Prince’s choreography works so well with a laughable fight sequence that winds up being funny, rather than dramatic.

Equally, Nikolai Foster’s direction is hit and miss with oddly-timed rather ambiguous appearances from Zack’s father, including an uncomfortably sexualised exchange; a decidedly weird Philippines flashback and an unclear pre-interval climax.

Having said this, there are moments of pure genius, best exemplified by the clever sequence using a Material Girl record sticking and cast vocals to link scenes.

While Leicester-based theatre company Curve’s production may have its faults and some performances, such as Sergeant Foley’s, are over-exaggerated in acting style the production has a lot of potential and provides an opportunity for enjoyable escapism. The famous finale gets a cheer from expectant followers of the film and an impromptu standing ovation, testimony to the fact that mature fanatical fans of the show’s inspiration will love it, despite oddly echoic vocals that often appear out of sync.

An Officer and a Gentleman showed at The Alhambra September 3-8 before continuing its tour: