I’ve known about the Dragonlance musical, or as it’s actually titled “The Last Trial,” based on the Dragonlance Legends story, for a decade, thanks to Wikipedia in Russian. It wasn’t until some time later, after the theater production had been out for many years and grown to be performed by three different troupes that an exhibition video appeared on Youtube of an abridged version performed by all three troupes alternating acts that I got to see it. Luckily, the Internet immediately jumped in and KrynnSub was formed to translate the songs.
The story gets better. Just last February the complete two and a half hour production from one of the troupes was posted on youtube. Margaret Weis posted on Facebook that KrynnSub, along with Tracy Hickman were working on translating and subtitling the whole show. I had planned to give a review of the show without subtitles, but since they’re there now, I’ll review the one people who don’t speak Russian are more likely to see.
Yet, the idea of a musical based on Dragonlance, might give a lot of people pause. It’s a musical. A stage production. Plus, many remember the attempt at an animated movie of Dragons of Autumn Twilight. Do not fear. The songs are surprisingly interesting and even catchy. The performers are in fine voice. I am familiar with the story that’s being depicted, but even I was impressed at how much of the story was accessible even without subtitles. The black clad dancers who roll around on the floor and flit around in the background are a bit much, but after awhile they quit being a distraction. The story is done more justice in this full version in comparison to the abridged version and seeing it with one single theater company throughout does much for character development. Special effects are always a risk without a huge Broadway budget when it comes to smaller theater offerings. Keeping the set simple works well for this story, including the appearance by a Death Knight in a magic forest. The introduction of Par Salian, Dalamar and the Kingpriest help round out the story and fill in gaps fans were a bit afraid had been glossed over for the sake of the medium.
Characters and events have been changed and condensed as would be expected for a mere two hours for the stage, but it doesn’t detract from the story or diminish the original. What could have been a bad, campy stage show is actually enjoyable enough that I’d buy tickets if I ever had a chance to see it live.
Watching a two and a half hour Youtube video might be a lot to ask of people. Yet, anyone who is a fan of Dragonlance will find it worth checking out. It’s not the same as the animated movie that was made a few years ago, it’s better, I promise.