Directed by Lorne Campbell
Music & Lyrics by Sting
9th – 14th April 2018
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Photograph by Pamela Raith
Sting is an accomplished rock/pop musician – Fields of Gold is one of his classic songs – but his debut musical The Last Ship was underwhelming. It was initially inspired by his 1991 album The Soul Cages.
I found the presentation maudlin to a large extreme and there was definitely no sting in the tale!
Bizzarely it was premiered on Broadway in 2014 where the reception by critics was lukewarm.
The Last Ship relates to the imminent closure of the Swan Hunter Shipyard in Tyneside during the 1980s. Having virtually finished building a ship called Utopia the workers are confronted with the harsh reality of all of them being made redundant.
Given that it is a musical there are numerous outbreaks of songs. But I found the singing often grating to the ear and in general lacked impact Tonality without the capital T!
A redeeming feature was the back stage projections, for example, re-creating the daily life of the shipyard, such as the profusion of welding sparks, and the skeleton of the sailing vessel Utopia.