After receiving widespread critical acclaim and Five Star Reviews at its official opening in Newcastle’s Northern Stage, The Last Ship sets sail on a UK and Ireland Tour and has called at The Festival Theatre until Saturday 16th June.
Lead by a brilliant ensemble cast this show features a moving and heartfelt story of love, life and hope. This personal musical inspired by Sting’s own childhood experiences, shows the collective defiance of a community facing the demise of the shipbuilding industry alongside a poignant and moving romantic tale of childhood sweethearts and the adults they grew up to become.
Featuring an awe-inspiring set by Olivier-nominated 59 Productions, The Last Ship is the UK and Ireland premiere of Sting’s heartfelt and empowering new musical.
The Last Ship is a stirring, inspiring British musical, showcasing a set list of passion-driven songs and a historical story of the power of community; a message that remains politically relevant today.
The set and staging of the show are spectacular. There is an inventive use of projectors to create realistic interiors in certain scenes, which are then expertly and smoothly transitioned in order to change setting or alter the atmosphere. For instance, when portraying memories on stage, a haze effect is created through the use of clever lighting and gauze netting, resulting in an innovative and beautiful form of storytelling.
The performances from the ensemble are excellent, particularly, of course, the lead four: Richard Fleeshman, Penelope Woodman, Joe McGann and Frances McNamee. Each display an impressive range of emotion as well as singing talent, and the chemistry of each couple is not only convincing, but also very moving; especially between Woodman and McGann’s Peggy and Jackie White.
My main criticism of the show is its pacing and length. For me, the show is a little too long and consequently, some of the dialogue and songs felt like filler. Therefore, the story did not engage me as much as it could have done had it been more concise. However, even though a few of the songs were too repetitive for me, overall the music and lyrics by Sting are well-written and the live instruments on stage add a realness that connects to the raw passion of the story and performers.
The message at the end of the production is what will stay with the audience most profoundly. The Last Ship is a celebration of everyday people; of working-class yardmen and of the strong, independent female figures that make powerful communities both historically in Britain and across the world today.
Review by Kim Ford for Love Books Group
| Booking Information |
THE LAST SHIP
Tue 12 to Sat 16 June 2018 | Festival Theatre
Matinees 2.30pm | Evenings 7.30pm
Duration: Approx. 2h 50m (incl. 20m interval)