The Last Ship (UK Tour) Review

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Cast
Joe Caffrey – Billy Thompson
Richard Fleeshman – Gideon Fletcher
Annie Grace – Mrs Dees
Charlie Hardwick – Peggie White
Joe McGann – Jackie White
Frances McNamee – Meg Dawson
Katie Moore – Ellen Dawson
Kevin Wathen – Davey Harrison

Venue: Northern Stage

Date: Friday 6th April 2018

The Last Ship is still a rather new musical with music and lyrics from Sting which played on Broadway in 2014 after opening in Chicago prior to that, something I always found a little bit strange that it did not start off in the UK and in particular in the North East. Even more so now having seen the show during the start of its UK tour at the incredible Northern Stage. Surely the Geordie accent was a little bit too much for Broadway? As I am sure it had to be changed a lot in Billy Elliot?

It has such a North East feeling to everything about the show and that is not a bad thing at all, it also offers as a slight history lesson into one of the trades which saw the North be such a strong area. Obviously that along with the mines are long gone now but I certainly enjoyed learning more about what really made the area thrive.

Such a good decision to bring the show home for the start of its UK tour, something which I think will work out much better in the long run. The opening and closing monologues are used very much as a political statement which doesn’t really happen in too many shows, I am unsure to how this will be received in different areas of the UK.

The show has some fantastic choreography on what was a very impressive set, partly on the ship and used as the pub. Plenty of visuals were used throughout for the changing scenes and that really did create a very visually stunning production. It is a very dark show though, but we aren’t really expecting to have plenty of bright lights and breakout dances in this type of show. Everything fits and works for the tone and message of the show.

The music is pretty haunting at times as the men and women of the shipyard come together to be heard. Along with that we are given a love story that well quite frankly went very wrong when Gideon had left and didn’t come back until 17 years later. That is something that certainly creates a stir! Along with Jackie and Betty White who have pretty much given their personal and professional lives to the shipyard and all of the people they work with in it.

Performance wise I was very impressed with Charlie Hardwick who I felt stole the stage every time she appeared on it. Richard Fleeshman has plenty of skill when it comes to both acting and singing this is the second production I have seen him in on stage and throughly enjoy him. Something added with the cast was that they came out before the start and were speaking to the audience, I hope this is something they will continue to do on the tour as it is certainly a little bit different.

If you fancy seeing a musical that is a little bit different to anything you have seen before then The Last Ship is certainly for you, touring the UK until July 2018 (Dates here).

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