Flying to Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles to watch a British musical? When it is ‘The Last Ship’ by Sting, it is absolutely worth the trip. It is a celebration of outstanding music and meaningful text that is Sting’s signature. And moreover, the multiple Grammy Award winner and songwriter performs in it. In person.

If you had a chance to see the first version of the show in Chicago or New York in 2014 based on the book by John Logan and Brian Yorkey, this is an opportunity to enjoy a new adaptation by Lorne Campbell.

The story is based on Sting’s childhood memories of his first years in Wallsend, North England, spent in proximity to a shipyard. The main character, Gideon Fletcher (played by Oliver Savile) left his native city looking for a better life. When he returns 17 years later, there are more than one surprises waiting for him. One of them is the closure of the shipyard in the 1980s that leaves the whole local community unemployed and deeply hurt.


The idea of the musical came to Sting after a long period of the writer’s block. As he openly shared at his Ted talk in 2014, the inspiration came back as soon as he decided to ‘sidestep his own ego and stopped telling his own story to tell someone else’s story. Someone perhaps without a voice’.

The socially meaningful theme is interwoven with the private lives of the characters: love and betrayal, fear and hope, generational differences – all found their place in the story and made it private and easy to relate to. The original score (Tony Awards, 2015) also includes Sting’s evergreens from previous albums: ‘Island of Souls’ and ‘All This Time’ (The Soul Cages, 1991), ‘When We Dance’ (Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984 – 1994), and ‘Ghost Story’ (Brand New Day,1999).


The musical engaged magnificent voices: the main female character, Gideon Fletcher’s childhood sweetheart, Meg Dawson is played by Frances McNamee, whose passionate and jazzy performance is as strong as the character herself. The artistic ensemble is also enriched by Jackie Morrison, (Peggy White, Sting’s character’s wife on the stage) and Oliver Savile who could be seen in numerous musicals in the UK, including CATS, Mamma Mia!, and Les Miserables.

One of the peculiarities of the production is the decision to use Geordie, the dialect spoken in the North–East of England, and the organisers of the show kindly included its glossary in the programme (the programmes are totally free in the LA theatres, wey aye, man!*)


In 2018 ‘The Last Ship’ was shown in Newcastle Upon Tyne and Salfrod, and it is a true shame it didn’t make it to London. Hopefully, not yet. You can catch this absolute must see in the USA. Check the tour dates and venues on Sting’s official website.

*generic proclamation of positivity or agreement