Sting visits Glasgow to promote new shipbuilding musical...
It may be many decades since a ship was last launched from the slipway of Henry Robb’s Shipyard, but at Leith Dockers’ Club Monday, memories were rekindled as 80’s pop icon Sting, real name Gordon Sumner, launched his new musical, which sails into the Festival Theatre in 2018.
The Police frontman was in Scotland to promote The Last Ship, a musical inspired initially by his 1991 album The Soul Cages and his childhood experiences.
Taking to the stage of The Dockers’ to sing a selection of songs from the show, he later revealed that he felt at home in the port.
The singer, who also performed at the Fairfield Heritage Centre in Glasgow Monday, said: “It does feel like being at home here. I saw a little bit of the docks as we came in and when I caught sight of the ships I got emotional. There’s something about a ship that excites me. There’s a symbolism that is very powerful... as a kid growing up, looking at the end of my street and seeing this massive cathedral of steel and then to see it launched. The noise. That was powerful.”
The Last Ship charts the lives of the people of Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, as the shipbuilding industry on which generations have relied goes into decline with the closure of the town’s Swan Hunter shipyard. It tells the story of Gideon Fletcher; when he returns home after 17 years at sea, tensions flare in both his family and his town.
With a half-built ship towering over the terraces, picket lines are drawn as foreman Jackie – played by Jimmy Nail best remembered as Oz in the hit television show Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, and for his title role in Spender – and his wife Peggy fight to hold their community together.
The play is directed by Edinburgh-born Lorne Campbell.
Nail, who came out of retirement to star in The Last Ship, will reprise the role he played on Broadway.
Now 66, Sting, who also played the role in New York, cannot wait to see the reaction the piece gets from local audiences and he revealed there may even be a very special guest in the audience – Steven Spielberg. “I think it will resonate well with the people of Edinburgh, and I’m just dying to see how it goes down here - I’ll be here on the first night.”
Announcing that he has invited Spielberg to see the show, he added: “He was very interested and got very emotional over the whole idea of it too. He may even see it in Edinburgh.” The Last Ship comes to Edinburgh on 12 June. It opens in Glasgow on 18 June
(c) The Scotsman by Liam Rudden