Lifeline Theatre KidSeries presents
The Last of the Dragons
Based on the story by Edith Nesbit
Adapted by David Bareford
Music by Mikhail Fiksel
Directed by Dorothy Milne
Thru February 21st
6912 N. Glenwood
Once upon a time, a girl waited to be rescued. In every fairytale, kissed or slippered, girls are saved, from wicked stepmothers, poisoned apples, disgruntled fairies/dwarfs, by a prince. Until now! Lifeline Theatre KidSeries presents the world premiere children's musical, The Last of the Dragons. A swashbuckling princess questions the Astoria custom of being sacrificed to a fire breathing dragon so she can be rescued by a prince. In Tuscany, a bookworm prince disputes his royal duty to slay a dragon for his princess bride. The Last of the Dragons is a lively musical about family traditions, parental expectations, and self discovery.
Sword fighting, a talking parrot, and a giant dragon head provide fun visuals for telling the tale within a kid-tested one hour running time. The dueling, designed by R&D Choreography, is particularly exciting. One stunt, where the princess kicks up the sword to return it to the prince, receives spontaneous exclamations of admiration. Ann Sears and Scott Allen Luke are the unconventional princess and prince struggling to please their parents while fulfilling their own dreams. One of their duets is sung in a rock and roll style, another change from the standard castle-like score. The entire cast energetically entertains while teaching lessons of courage and individuality.
The fairy tale is a twist with unconventional characters based on the story by Edith Nesbit. David Bareford adapts the story to stage with humorous dialogue. The ludicrous ongoing banter about parents wanting their children to voluntarily face a dragon is hilarious. Although nontraditional fairy tale (and real life) themes, like the prince admitting the princess is better suited to fight the dragon, are refreshing, Bareford could have gone farther to break the glass slipper. SPOILER ALERT: Instead of the prince and princess traditionally falling in love and deciding to marry, they could have become facebook friends. Later, they could build on a long distant text relationship from their kingdoms. After they establish careers and find happiness on their own, they could marry and merge the kingdoms. They would understand "happily ever afters" require constant work. On the other hand, childhood is about dreaming of possibilities! Let's make believe that everyone always lives happily ever after and go see Last of the Dragons.
WAITING FOR THE SHOW
Not really magical, at least the Red Line is efficient in transporting me to a land far, far away. Lifeline Theatre is located one block from the Morse Stop in Rogers Park. Preshow, I visit The Common Cup at 1501 W. Morse Avenue. An independent café, it serves an array of coffees, teas, pastries, soups and salads. The friendly staff walks me through the ordering system of completing a written checklist. I decide on a ½ turkey sandwich with a bowl of cheesy chicken tortilla soup. Along with tea, my bill is $11 and some change. It seems a little pricey but not outrageous since I'm pretty sure I'm still in Chicago. While enjoying my lunch and book in a cozy corner, I'm momentarily interrupted by my friendly counter person. She informs me that she accidentally charged me for a whole sandwich and gives me a refund of $3 and some change. Enchanting! Another happy ending!
*Photographs by Suzanne Plunkett