THE LAST SHIP

Critics

LemonMeter

69 %

Reviews: 21

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

The Last Ship is the heartfelt and empowering musical by multiple Grammy Award® winner Sting.

Featuring original music and lyrics by Sting as well as a few of his best-loved songs—“Island of Souls,” “All This Time,” and “When We Dance”—The Last Ship is coming to Los Angeles after a critically acclaimed Canadian, UK, and Irish tour.

Set in the shipbuilding community in Tyne and Wear, UK, The Last Ship tells the story of a young man who returns home after 17 years at sea. Tensions between past and future flare in both his family and his town. He finds that the local shipyard, around which the community has always revolved, is closing, and no one knows what will come next, only that a half-built ship towers over the terraces of working-class homes. With the engine fired and pistons in motion, picket lines are drawn as the foreman and his wife fight to hold their community together in the face of the gathering storm.

Reviews

Shari Barrett

The real star of the show is its designed-to-travel, multi-level scenic design by 59 Productions, enhanced by sound designer Sebastian Front and lighting designer Matt Daw, which includes some of the most amazing projections I have ever witnessed that completely transform into the many scenes required, from the shipyard, inside homes, the local beer pub, to an extraordinary church interior that generated gasps from the audience, as well as the appearance of waves crashing on the docks and snow falling. But it is the final scene when the Utopia, the last ship to be built, launches from the soon-to-close shipyard that will take your breath away. It's just a shame it takes almost 3 hours to get to it.

sweet-sour - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Tin Pan L.A.

The Last Ship is a grand show that successfully conjures a world and characters of this seaside town, but once the allure of this milieu wanes the ship begins to sink, and audiences are left floating at sea searching for a story to keep them from going under.

sweet-sour - Ryan Luevano - Tin Pan LA - ...read full review


Avatar

Truth be told, the show is still about a half-hour too long. The last act drags a bit and just when you think it's over, there's another chunk to go. But what I was happily amazed by was how charming and engaging the show is. Despite the themes and the setting, the show isn't gloomy or sad. There's hope and joy to it all that sends you out of the shipyard on a high, ready to set sail to discover what's next on the horizon.

sweet - Kevin Taft - Edge Media Network - ...read full review


Avatar

In the end, am I glad I saw the show? Yes (and not only because I discovered that the Mezzanine seats in the Ahmanson aren’t bad at all). The music has grown on me, and now I understand the story. Perhaps some years down the road a revival of the show may figure out how to adjust the stories to strengthen it. It wasn’t bad. Just not great. It is clearly moving in the right direction.

sweet-sour - Daniel Faigin - Observations Along the Road - ...read full review


Avatar

If you want to see the singer perform in a new context, this may be the show for you. However, his presence alone does not make this vessel quite as seaworthy as a discerning audience might like.

sweet-sour - John Lavitt - The Hollywood Times - ...read full review


Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash

The writer of the new book, Lorene Campbell, also serves as director for THE LAST SHIP; he proves to be efficient and successful in both endeavors. The cast is large and multi-talented, singing and dancing with abandon. Like the director, Sting had a dual role as composer of the music and lyrics and also one of the lead actors, Jackie White. The music ranges from melancholy to rousing, and the lyrics tell their story effectively. Again, Sting shines in both roles.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Michael Van Duzer

The new book is earnest, but remains unfocused and diffuse. The story introduces a large cast of characters, but, even with a nearly three-hour running time, we never get to know them well enough to feel moved by their problems. The Gideon story feels overly familiar and the labor issues, which worked well as the background for “Billy Elliot,” fall flat here. The final moments of the show build to what should be a thrilling “Waiting for Lefty” fist of the workers in the face of the bosses, finale. But the moment feels disappointingly tepid.

sweet-sour - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman

While this production is not everything it might be, the passion and heart that’s driven its creation is evident in the music, even as the story it spins is very much worth recalling.

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Jill Weinlein

Sting is quite a storyteller in his new musical “The Last Ship” now playing at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. It took him many years to write the hauntingly memorable songs that he sings with a stellar cast.
Hope is on the horizon, and the mountain of steel does sail on the sea to lay to rest a beloved man. At the end of the show, you will sing “The Last Ship” sailing all the way home.

sweet - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Avatar

The perfectly-cast leads and impeccable ensemble honor the driven dreams that few but Sting capture so completely. Even if it’s a misfire, I want this show to succeed. I wonder. With more ballast and less cargo, this musical may one day float.

sweet-sour - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

If it sounds like there is a lot going on here, there is. And each element - plot, music, dialogue, movement - is fighting against each other, much like the characters in the show.

sweet-sour - Lisa Lyons - Lyons' Views, News and Reviews - ...read full review


Avatar

But, somehow, the musical does gain a bit of strength near the end. And I do remind you—you’re getting to see Sting in person at one of the classiest theatres in town! I totally recommend The Last Ship on that merit alone! Even if you’re not a big fan of his, it’s still a fascinating experience.

sweet-sour - Karen Salkin - It's Not About Me - ...read full review


Avatar

There’s a lot going on in the show buoyed by incredible musical and worthy performances, which is why it’s so puzzling why the show doesn’t glow.

First things first –it was difficult to decipher a lot of the dialogue that was spoken or sung due to the thick English dialogue.  Second, the show took too long to get started in terms of the meat of the story – and once it had, interest had waned.  The second act didn’t advance the narrative any more than the first act.

That being said, the singing/songs are spectacular. Such powerhouse voices...

sweet-sour - Darlene Donloe - Donloe's Lowdown - ...read full review


Avatar

Sting’s voice has remained poetically raspy, though it befits his punk-pop legacy more than it befits musical theater. His acting chops lag behind those of his fellow cast members. It speaks well of him, however, that he surrounds himself with powerful singers.

sweet-sour - Dany Margolies - Daily News - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

A play or musical is not likely to spark a revolution, but it can certainly heighten political awareness through militant anthems, chants, and hymns to pride of place and dignity of labor. While I found the music stirring and even universal in its reach, what I found equally impressive are the lyrics. Even outside of song, the musicated speech is frequently expressed in organized couplets. I could not help thinking I would like to read these words as literature of the unstoppable, timeless working class—clear and unpretentious, but still poetical, intimate and elevated in tone.

The song “Island of Souls,” which is recapitulated a couple of times, is about that place where these working folks’ souls will go after death. It’s a sad, but collectively comforting reminder that the work that labor achieves will long outlive any individual life. We who inhabit the celebrity culture need to reminded of that: Celebrities will come and go, rise and sink, get rich and go bankrupt, fall in and out of love. But our honest work will stand for generations, centuries, even millennia, as tribute to our common endeavor.

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

The book is slim for sure, but this production, something akin to Billy Elliot meets Once, still manages to overcome its limitations. This is mostly thanks to the hauntingly evocative score composed by none other than rock legend Sting complemented by a troupe of gloriously-voiced, passionately earnest performers and featuring exquisite design elements.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Erin Conley

The Last Ship is one of those musicals that feels just on the verge of being something special. Many of the pieces are there, but it ultimately meanders too much and lacks the cohesion to ascend from good to great. Relying on the star power of Sting to mask some of the flaws is a savvy move that will do the show well, but based on the running time alone, this one, much like a long voyage at sea, is not for the faint of heart.

sweet-sour - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Avatar

While it could still use some editing, the result is a more compelling story of anger and angst — the panic, and in this case determination, that besets a community as livelihoods disappear.

At its heart, The Last Ship has always been a show about labor and workers uniting, a tonally distinct descendant of musicals like Kinky Boots or The Pajama Game. But Billy Porter, Bob Fosse and "Steam Heat" would not be at home here. While flashy in its own way, the show treads a careful line between dramatic-play-with-music and all-out Broadway musical.

sweet - Deborah Wilker - Hollywood Reporter - ...read full review


Avatar

And for the first time in ages, long hating the tradition of necessary standing ovations, I too stood up and heartily applauded.

The problem with The Last Ship is its own intelligence, its seriousness, its cleverness, the prolificacy of its composer’s sources, and the depth of feeling that he has imbued upon this work.

sweet - Douglas Messerli - US Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

This is an ambitious reworking of a musical epic that provides ample opportunity for singers to soar. But there’s something inorganic about the relationship between story and song. The musical sprawls rather than flows.

sweet-sour - Charles McNulty - LA Times - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

A simply gorgeous score is just one of many reasons to celebrate The Last Ship’s arrival at the Ahmanson, and with Sting getting above-the-title billing, CTG looks to have another National Tour hit on its hands. Though it could stand a bit of judicious pruning, The Last Ship more than earns its standing ovation.

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

The real star of the show is its designed-to-travel, multi-level scenic design by 59 Productions, enhanced by sound designer Sebastian Front and lighting designer Matt Daw, which includes some of the most amazing projections I have ever witnessed that completely transform into the many scenes required, from the shipyard, inside homes, the local beer pub, to an extraordinary church interior that generated gasps from the audience, as well as the appearance of waves crashing on the docks and snow falling. But it is the final scene when the Utopia, the last ship to be built, launches from the soon-to-close shipyard that will take your breath away. It's just a shame it takes almost 3 hours to get to it.

sweet-sour - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Tin Pan L.A.

The Last Ship is a grand show that successfully conjures a world and characters of this seaside town, but once the allure of this milieu wanes the ship begins to sink, and audiences are left floating at sea searching for a story to keep them from going under.

sweet-sour - Ryan Luevano - Tin Pan LA - ...read full review


Avatar

Truth be told, the show is still about a half-hour too long. The last act drags a bit and just when you think it's over, there's another chunk to go. But what I was happily amazed by was how charming and engaging the show is. Despite the themes and the setting, the show isn't gloomy or sad. There's hope and joy to it all that sends you out of the shipyard on a high, ready to set sail to discover what's next on the horizon.

sweet - Kevin Taft - Edge Media Network - ...read full review


Avatar

In the end, am I glad I saw the show? Yes (and not only because I discovered that the Mezzanine seats in the Ahmanson aren’t bad at all). The music has grown on me, and now I understand the story. Perhaps some years down the road a revival of the show may figure out how to adjust the stories to strengthen it. It wasn’t bad. Just not great. It is clearly moving in the right direction.

sweet-sour - Daniel Faigin - Observations Along the Road - ...read full review


Avatar

If you want to see the singer perform in a new context, this may be the show for you. However, his presence alone does not make this vessel quite as seaworthy as a discerning audience might like.

sweet-sour - John Lavitt - The Hollywood Times - ...read full review


Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash

The writer of the new book, Lorene Campbell, also serves as director for THE LAST SHIP; he proves to be efficient and successful in both endeavors. The cast is large and multi-talented, singing and dancing with abandon. Like the director, Sting had a dual role as composer of the music and lyrics and also one of the lead actors, Jackie White. The music ranges from melancholy to rousing, and the lyrics tell their story effectively. Again, Sting shines in both roles.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Michael Van Duzer

The new book is earnest, but remains unfocused and diffuse. The story introduces a large cast of characters, but, even with a nearly three-hour running time, we never get to know them well enough to feel moved by their problems. The Gideon story feels overly familiar and the labor issues, which worked well as the background for “Billy Elliot,” fall flat here. The final moments of the show build to what should be a thrilling “Waiting for Lefty” fist of the workers in the face of the bosses, finale. But the moment feels disappointingly tepid.

sweet-sour - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman

While this production is not everything it might be, the passion and heart that’s driven its creation is evident in the music, even as the story it spins is very much worth recalling.

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Jill Weinlein

Sting is quite a storyteller in his new musical “The Last Ship” now playing at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. It took him many years to write the hauntingly memorable songs that he sings with a stellar cast.
Hope is on the horizon, and the mountain of steel does sail on the sea to lay to rest a beloved man. At the end of the show, you will sing “The Last Ship” sailing all the way home.

sweet - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Avatar

The perfectly-cast leads and impeccable ensemble honor the driven dreams that few but Sting capture so completely. Even if it’s a misfire, I want this show to succeed. I wonder. With more ballast and less cargo, this musical may one day float.

sweet-sour - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

If it sounds like there is a lot going on here, there is. And each element - plot, music, dialogue, movement - is fighting against each other, much like the characters in the show.

sweet-sour - Lisa Lyons - Lyons' Views, News and Reviews - ...read full review


Avatar

But, somehow, the musical does gain a bit of strength near the end. And I do remind you—you’re getting to see Sting in person at one of the classiest theatres in town! I totally recommend The Last Ship on that merit alone! Even if you’re not a big fan of his, it’s still a fascinating experience.

sweet-sour - Karen Salkin - It's Not About Me - ...read full review


Avatar

There’s a lot going on in the show buoyed by incredible musical and worthy performances, which is why it’s so puzzling why the show doesn’t glow.

First things first –it was difficult to decipher a lot of the dialogue that was spoken or sung due to the thick English dialogue.  Second, the show took too long to get started in terms of the meat of the story – and once it had, interest had waned.  The second act didn’t advance the narrative any more than the first act.

That being said, the singing/songs are spectacular. Such powerhouse voices...

sweet-sour - Darlene Donloe - Donloe's Lowdown - ...read full review


Avatar

Sting’s voice has remained poetically raspy, though it befits his punk-pop legacy more than it befits musical theater. His acting chops lag behind those of his fellow cast members. It speaks well of him, however, that he surrounds himself with powerful singers.

sweet-sour - Dany Margolies - Daily News - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

A play or musical is not likely to spark a revolution, but it can certainly heighten political awareness through militant anthems, chants, and hymns to pride of place and dignity of labor. While I found the music stirring and even universal in its reach, what I found equally impressive are the lyrics. Even outside of song, the musicated speech is frequently expressed in organized couplets. I could not help thinking I would like to read these words as literature of the unstoppable, timeless working class—clear and unpretentious, but still poetical, intimate and elevated in tone.

The song “Island of Souls,” which is recapitulated a couple of times, is about that place where these working folks’ souls will go after death. It’s a sad, but collectively comforting reminder that the work that labor achieves will long outlive any individual life. We who inhabit the celebrity culture need to reminded of that: Celebrities will come and go, rise and sink, get rich and go bankrupt, fall in and out of love. But our honest work will stand for generations, centuries, even millennia, as tribute to our common endeavor.

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

The book is slim for sure, but this production, something akin to Billy Elliot meets Once, still manages to overcome its limitations. This is mostly thanks to the hauntingly evocative score composed by none other than rock legend Sting complemented by a troupe of gloriously-voiced, passionately earnest performers and featuring exquisite design elements.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Erin Conley

The Last Ship is one of those musicals that feels just on the verge of being something special. Many of the pieces are there, but it ultimately meanders too much and lacks the cohesion to ascend from good to great. Relying on the star power of Sting to mask some of the flaws is a savvy move that will do the show well, but based on the running time alone, this one, much like a long voyage at sea, is not for the faint of heart.

sweet-sour - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Avatar

While it could still use some editing, the result is a more compelling story of anger and angst — the panic, and in this case determination, that besets a community as livelihoods disappear.

At its heart, The Last Ship has always been a show about labor and workers uniting, a tonally distinct descendant of musicals like Kinky Boots or The Pajama Game. But Billy Porter, Bob Fosse and "Steam Heat" would not be at home here. While flashy in its own way, the show treads a careful line between dramatic-play-with-music and all-out Broadway musical.

sweet - Deborah Wilker - Hollywood Reporter - ...read full review


Avatar

And for the first time in ages, long hating the tradition of necessary standing ovations, I too stood up and heartily applauded.

The problem with The Last Ship is its own intelligence, its seriousness, its cleverness, the prolificacy of its composer’s sources, and the depth of feeling that he has imbued upon this work.

sweet - Douglas Messerli - US Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

This is an ambitious reworking of a musical epic that provides ample opportunity for singers to soar. But there’s something inorganic about the relationship between story and song. The musical sprawls rather than flows.

sweet-sour - Charles McNulty - LA Times - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

A simply gorgeous score is just one of many reasons to celebrate The Last Ship’s arrival at the Ahmanson, and with Sting getting above-the-title billing, CTG looks to have another National Tour hit on its hands. Though it could stand a bit of judicious pruning, The Last Ship more than earns its standing ovation.

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review