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Sting's Last Ship sinks on Broadway

Sting's new Broadway musical The Last Ship has opened to mixed reviews, with critics branding the show "dull" and "flawed".

The production, which chronicles the rocker's upbringing around the shipyards of north east England, officially hit the stage at the Neil Simon Theater in New York City on Sunday night (26Oct) after a series of previews, but the early feedback is not all positive.


The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney writes, "This melancholy musical is without doubt a heartfelt, intensely personal project. It's performed with vigorous commitment by an accomplished cast," but he adds, "Sadly, it's also a bit of a yawn."


Calling the plot "plodding", the writer adds, "The artist's fans alone may be enough to constitute an initial audience. Even if his rhymes can be a touch insistent.


"The truth is that all the melodic tunes in the world can't save a show from the crucial failing of being dull."


Charles Isherwood of the New York Times claims the production has "its share of nagging flaws".


He adds, "Lively characterisations from the cast can only go so far to paper over the problem of overpopulation... There isn't sufficient room to explore any of the characters in real depth, with the result that our emotions are only intermittently engaged.


"For all the ruminative, haunting beauty of its score, this musical often feels dramatically landlocked - like a ship without a crew."


Variety's Marilyn Stasio adds, "Sting lives up to his nickname, the King of Pain, with The Last Ship", claiming his "mournful score" gives "poetic voice to the distressed shipbuilders", but "depicting their story as a heroic allegory is regrettably alienating".


The show stars Michael Esper, Rachel Tucker and Jimmy Nail, who joined Sting for a recent Inside the Actors Studio special, which aired in America on Thursday night (23Oct14).