The Last Ship | PrivateBank Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Last Ship Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through July 13 2014

Sting wasn't born Sting, you know. Years before he got famous as lead singer of the Police, he was Gordon Sumner of Wallsend, a spot in the northeast of England known for shipyards that boosters today call "historic" and "proud" because little in the way of shipbuilding actually goes in them anymore. Born in 1951, Sting grew up during the slow Detroitification of the Wallsend yards; now, at 62, he's apparently in a retrospective mood—ergo his farfetched yet entertaining new musical, The Last Ship, set in the Wallsend of his youth. To his credit, Sting hasn't opted for a Great Man exercise in autohagiography. Unlike, say, Berry Gordy's Motown: The Musical, The Last Ship isn't a creation myth. But then again, it isn't what you'd call a gritty look at postindustrial dislocation either. Even the inevitable comparisons to Billy Elliot are off: overblown as it was when it came through Chicago in 2010, Elton John's stage musical was constrained by its source material (the 2000 movie starring a 14-year-old Jamie Bell) to stick close to the politics and culture and hard knocks of English coal miners carrying on a bitter strike during the mid-1980s. Created out of whole cloth, The Last Ship has no such constraints and doesn't impose many on itself. Though it unfolds among working people facing the loss of their collective livelihood, the show leaps off—weirdly, and without really acknowledging it—into romantic fantasy. Continue reading >>

Price: $33-$100

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