The Last Ship sails into Northampton

If you have a major star like Sting, you might imagine that he would have a very hands off involvement in a show.

But according to actors Joe McGann and Charlie Hardwick, he has been there throughout the rehearsal process of The Last Ship, which is coming to Northampton towards the end of the month.

The Last Ship

The Last Ship

So dedicated that he actually stood in for another actor when the show was in Newcastle.

Joe said: “This is not a vanity project for Sting by any stretch of the imagination. He is in there with us, in the trenches as it were.

“Having him there throughout the rehearsals is very humbling; you can’t exactly complain about turning into work when the gaffer is Sting.”

Charlie said: “It is a really organic process and the rehearsal room was jumping, it’s got a great vibe.”

Joe McGann and Charlie Hardwick

Joe McGann and Charlie Hardwick

This personal musical inspired by Sting’s own childhood experiences, shows the collective defiance of a community facing the demise of the shipbuilding industry alongside a poignant and moving romantic tale of childhood sweethearts and the adults they grow up to become.

For the actors themselves, they recognise the characters that have been created.

Joe said: “Jackie White is an amalgamation of several characters that Sting grew up and certainly several people that I recognise. This self taught, morally upright, fair minded, intelligent working class man.

“He would have to maintain a balance between his workers and the management.”

Charlie added: “I am playing Peggy White with a great moral compass and a desire to do the right thing.”

They were also full of praise for the show and the way that it depicts working class characters.

Joe said: “It’s a brilliant story with exquisite music and a play which is a fairer look at the class of people that I recognise.

“They are portrayed a lot of the time as a kind of grey underclass. But there was much more colour, intelligence, diversity and discourse than we ever see portrayed now.

“The kind of people I grew up with are the kind of people who portrayed in this stage show.”

There has a lot for the actors to learn for the show and that has been one of the greatest challenges.

Joe said: “Human beings and actors are at their best when the learning curve is perpendicular to the ground when you have got a lot to do.

“To get this right, it is not just the new script and the exquisite music, but also to do it justice is a big job for everybody.

“But that’s one of the nice jobs when it all comes together because acting is a team game. We have to become the community like the one that we are portraying in order to make it work.”

Charlie also agrees that the pressure of living up to the expectations created by the show is one of the most challenging aspects of staging this piece.

She added: “The music is so brilliant that you can’t just go in and sing a little folk song. It’s brilliantly scored, it is like an opera. It’s incredible and I’m trying to be dedicated to match the beat, the rhythm and every semi quaver on the page.

“I just want to get it right so that I can do this show to the best of my ability and hopefully bring it to life.”

The Last Ship comes to Northampton from Tuesday, April 24, to Saturday, April 28, with performances throughout the week.

Tickets for the show can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or by visiting www.royalandderngate.co.uk where more information is available.