Sting and Jimmy Nail team up for musical The Last Ship
- Henry Northmore
- 5 December 2017
We headed to Leith Dockers Club for the launch of the show set to tour the UK in 2018
The last person you expect to meet when you head to the Leith Dockers Club is international superstar Sting. It's a fitting venue for a launch of his musical The Last Ship based in part on Sting's own childhood living in the shadow of Newcastle's shipyards and 1991 album The Soul Cages about the closure of Swan Hunter in Wallsend, Tyne & Wear. Jimmy Nail will take the lead role when The Last Ship begins its UK tour in March 2018 in, rather appropriately, Newcastle (with further dates in Liverpool, Birmingham, Northampton, Edinburgh, Glasgow and more).
Here's what we now know about the project from the launch:
1. The songs are understated but powerful
We were treated to a short, intimate set of music from The Last Ship performed by Sting. Of course they will sound different given the full musical treatment but these are deeply personal songs about a family and community in crisis.
2. It brought Jimmy Nail out of retirement
Nail was a huge star in the 80s and 90s after TV series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Spender alongside pop hits 'Aint No Doubt' and 'Crocodile Shoes' but he stepped out of the spotlight. However as a fellow Geordie The Last Ship spoke to Nail and he returned to the stage for the original Chicago and Broadway run in 2014 and will be back for the UK tour. 'Jimmy is one of my best friends he was my muse in many ways,' explains Sting. 'His father had worked on the shipyards and he was very much a part of the process as I was writing it.'
3. It's a big production
The Last Ship will be produced by Karl Sydow (Dirty Dancing, Hysteria, The Queen & I); directed by Northern Stage's Artistic Director Lorne Campbell with a set designed by 59 Productions (War Horse).
4. The Last Ship resonates with today's political climate
'It's not just set in the 1980s as a piece of history, it's about what do we do as a community when our work disappears, when our identity disappears. These are very important questions,' says Sting.
5. Don't be surprised if you see The Last Ship at cinemas in the future
Sting spotted Steven Spielberg in the crowd when it played New York. 'He came backstage and said "this would make a great film you know?" "Really," I said "do you know anybody?" So it's a possibility.'
The Last Ship tours the UK from Mon 12 Mar–Sat 7 Jul; including Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Mon 11–Sat 16 Jun and Theatre Royal Glasgow, Mon 18–Sat 23 Jun.