Like all good pieces of children’s theatre,
The Last of the Dragons does an excellent job at subverting gender stereotypes and exposing them as ridiculous.
In line with a tradition dating back for centuries, every princess is tied to a rock on her 16th birthday so she can be captured by a dragon and then rescued by a prince. However, things change when a brave sword-wielding princess and a pale, bookish prince agree that it is in their best interests that they fight the dragon together. When they eventually track the dragon down, they learn some surprising things, not least that it is now the world’s last living dragon. While this production by the Manhattan Children’s Theatre does justice to Nesbit’s charming story, it also introduces a number of comic additions and revelations that people already familiar with the original can look forward to.
From the king’s absurd obsession with ‘tradition’ and the sword-thrusting days of his youth, to the princess literally sweeping the prince off his feet, The Last of the Dragons does an excellent job at subverting gender stereotypes and exposing them as ridiculous. And it is to the scriptwriter’s credit that these never come across as excessive or contrived.
There are few bad things to be said of this show, aside from the fact that its use of classical music seems slightly anachronistic and out of place. But it is undeniable that The Last of the Dragons is an absolute delight to behold – definitely a must-see at this year’s Fringe.