"I DREAMT that I would be a writer or singer of sorts", says Sting in the programme notes for this new production of his stage musical The Last Ship. "I'd travel the world and sing songs, I'd become famous and get paid extravagant amounts of money and I'd win a lot of awards. I must have dreamt that very hard because it actually came to pass.

"Many years later, after having a lot of success, I realised that I owed a debt to the community that I was brought up in."

These are, according to one's taste, either the touching words of an honest man or the unintended insult of a boastful egotist. Whatever one's feelings about the rock star, however, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that he has a hit musical on his hands.

Although set on Tyneside, the play was first performed in the United States (with shows in Chicago and New York) in 2014. In this new incarnation (which comes to Edinburgh and Glasgow in June), Sting's music and lyrics are joined by a new book by Lorne Campbell, artistic director of Northern Stage, who also directs this production.

It's the mid-1980s. The miners have been defeated and the Thatcher government is continuing with Nicholas Ridley's infamous battle plan against the big industrial trade unions.

On the verge of completing a great ship called (what else?) Utopia, the workforce is told that the company that commissioned the vessel has gone into receivership. After a mere two weeks of seeking an alternative buyer, the shipyard owner and the government are proposing that the ship be broken up for scrap.

Understanding that their jobs, too, are for the scrapyard, and inspired by the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders work-in of 1971, the workers decide to lock themselves inside the yard and complete the work of building the Utopia.

If this sounds more like a Ken Loach film than a Broadway-style stage musical, worry not. The politics are leavened by the human interest story of Gideon Fletcher (the sailor who has returned home after 17 years at sea) and Meg Dawson (the young girlfriend he left behind, heartbroken and, unbeknownst to him, with child).

Campbell's production boasts a generally excellent cast. Frances McNamee shines as Meg (both as singer and actress), while Joe McGann puts in a charismatic performance as principled foreman Jackie White.

The fine, deceptively versatile set is in constant transformation, often thanks to brilliantly accomplished video projections.

The music itself, which combines the Broadway tradition with the folk styles of Ireland and England, is at its best in the big chorus numbers. The lyrics (which involve a veritable tsunami of nautical metaphors) range between the touching and the clunky.

A conventional stage musical, replete with (sometimes saccharine) sentiment, this version of The Last Ship is beautifully constructed. It was launched on Wednesday night (when Sting joined the cast for their bows) to a rapturous ovation.

For tour details, visit: thelastshipmusical.co.uk