A brand-new musical has arrived in town, inspired by Sting’s childhood experiences this personal, political play brings a wave of welcomed freshness to the UK’s musical theatre scene.
Setting sail on a UK-tour, this new musical promises to touch the hearts of audiences alike, telling the familiar tale of the importance of a united front when faced against all odds. Set against the backdrop of the diminishing shipbuilding industry, the play tells of the courage of one community in opposing the closure of their shipyard, but more than that it shows how each person’s life is deeply affected, and intertwined with the next by the shipyard, where Utopia, the last ship is soon to set sail.
It comes as no surprise that when Sting is behind the music and lyrics, the most poignant moments of the musical are found within the songs. It is fair to say every cast member sings their heart out on stage, which is the power needed to deliver such emotive musical numbers. Choosing to focus more on voice than movements highlights where the heart of this musical lies: the lyrics.
Do not worry; this play is not all doom and gloom. There are comical moments threaded throughout, with a particularly memorable number performed by Frances McNamee, as Meg, whose childhood sweetheart went off to sea, and let’s just say he did not hastily return. The bitterness felt becomes one of the best moments on stage, as with the support of her fellow shipyard women, Meg eagerly warns that you should never trust a sailor.
The set design is inventive, making use of a tight space to manoeuvre between different locations around the shipyard throughout the play. With a clever use of screens, you are transported from the gates of the shipyard, to a church within seconds. The main backdrop is a large wall surrounding the shipyard; barely changing throughout this is a reminder that this yard is what grounds the people around it, and is essentially their life.
The Last Ship plays at the New Alexandra Theatre until 21st April.
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