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Theatre

Medieval Times offers new show, same tournament

Posted by Keith Bennie / November 24, 2012

medieval times torontoIf you've visited Medieval Times as a kid, you'll know that walking into the arena as an adult is comfortably nostalgic. The air smells faintly of horse stable and rotisserie chicken and the tiered seating is outfitted in the colours of six Knights of the Realm that will compete for the King's honour. Once you don the paper hat, you've effectively given yourself over to the revelry that is to unfold.

medieval times torontoIt had been about fifteen years since I first experienced the dinner and tournament and despite a proclamation announcing a new show, not much has changed. The horses are as majestic as ever, yet the performances are parroted and rote. The tournament features the same formulaic certainty that doesn't reach an exciting pitch until the final act.

medieval times torontoEach knight is paired with a section of the audience for competition through a series of challenges. After a collection of scenes (hooking rings on lances, striking a bullseye), the tournament climaxes in jousts and hand-to-hand combat that determine an ultimate winner. Alongside the King's tournament, there is a minor subplot which introduces an outside visitor who threatens to steal the throne.

medieval times torontoYou have to look hard to identify the new elements scattered throughout. The opening sequence, which features a Liberty Horse performing without rider, emphasizes the beauty of the animals — it's a fitting new start. But while the lighting certainly has been given an upgrade, the new score and costumes don't make quite the same impression.

medieval times torontoWhat is done well are the choreographed jousting and battle scenes that determine the triumphant household. The fairly pedestrian challenges that build up to this final display cannot help but fall in the shadow of these energetic fight scenes. Evidently, this is where the most attention has been paid. Audiences have been thrown more action and more violence.

medieval times torontoIt's a little disappointing that, given the recent popularity of Games of Thrones, the tournament wasn't completely overhauled in favour of a narratively driven show, rich in story and detail. Audiences can handle a presentation more challenging than the current "back to basics" format, with its cardboard-cutout knights. That said, the popular entertainment feels more like a sporting event, with its mentions of birthdays and visiting groups, rather than theatre.

medieval times torontoThe environment is similar to what you'd expect, complete with wenches who promise to deliver dragon's blood alongside your sodium-heavy chicken and ribs. It's undeniably fun to eat with your hands, and they're generous enough to provide some non-period hand wipes.

Action and sport, rather than narrative and nuance, reign supreme in the newest form of dinner and tournament at Medieval Times.

medieval times torontoPhotos by Brian Morton

Discussion

30 Comments

Really? / November 24, 2012 at 02:21 am
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What a condescending review.
You must be a jaded little man to write a review like this.
I am pretty sure you cannot even ride a horse, let alone joust or fight.
I think it is time someone kicks you off your high horse... no pun intended.
This is the problem with some people. They think they are above everyone else.
I would figure that these guys in this show work hard and probably train everyday. Much more then typing on a keyboard and critiquing athletes.
Learn some respect you little little boy
Chris / November 24, 2012 at 08:02 am
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3 lines on the food? It is Dinner and Tournament after all. Price? Beverage Selection? Value for money?
Me replying to a comment from Really? / November 24, 2012 at 09:55 am
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Agreed. Typical BlogTO fluff.
Jake / November 24, 2012 at 10:40 am
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I haven't been in awhile either. But I like that it feels like a cross between dinner theater and a sporting event. It's a make-believe jousting tournament, afterall. The subplot stuff always seemed cheesy to me.
PL / November 24, 2012 at 10:52 am
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You make it sound like Medieval Times is touting itself as theatre, when it never claims to be so. It clearly titles itself as dinner and tournament, which is pulls off spectacularly. It IS sport, not theatre. The horses and the knights train daily.
And the food is amazing.
Sean / November 24, 2012 at 10:58 am
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Who wrote this? Someone 'sensitive' to violence? Someone who has 'issues' with the "sodium-heavy" food? And too lazy to take a picture of the food too.

BlogTO, take note... kindly exit the author.

tyler street replying to a comment from PL / November 24, 2012 at 11:09 am
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the food is amazing?

the food is not amazing - it's barfo. the jousting is fun, but the food is nothing special
Robert / November 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm
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I for one love Medieval Times. If you go in expecting dinner & jousting, you won't be let down. As for the food, it's kind of like going to Swiss Chalet in a large stadium, except that there's no cutlery.

I swear to god this review is like EVERY review on this site. The reviewer is never happy! Lighten up, they never promised Game of Thrones: the Live Show.
JonnyBee replying to a comment from Robert / November 24, 2012 at 01:02 pm
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dont you DARE compare Swiss Chalet with the crap they serve at medieval times. MT serves warm leftovers. Swiss Chalet is like eating a freshly prepared Swiss/Canadian meal in front of a warm fire wearing toe socks (cause they're awesome).
Me / November 24, 2012 at 01:57 pm
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MMMM, Swiss Chalet!!! yet another thing I miss since moving out of my beloved T.O.
Ace McNugget / November 24, 2012 at 02:00 pm
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Same BlogTO, but a new terrible low in the quality of the writing.
Robert replying to a comment from JonnyBee / November 24, 2012 at 02:27 pm
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*kind of* ...obviously Swiss Chalet is better food, that should go without saying.
trillaryduff / November 24, 2012 at 03:32 pm
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Swiss Chalet sucks.
HighHorse replying to a comment from Really? / November 24, 2012 at 03:37 pm
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So I suppose people should no longer expect to be able to judge good performers since they can't do it themselves.

If you ask me, you're condescending. I'm just not sure you realize you can't joust either.
Me / November 24, 2012 at 03:52 pm
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Damage to BlogTO's reputation? That'd be pretty hard to do. It's already entertainment but not how their 'writer's' imagine it to be I'd bet.
WhySoSerious? / November 24, 2012 at 04:03 pm
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Why is everyone so upset, especially those of you who complain about the terrible writing on blogto reviews, if you dislike them so much, why do you waste your time reading all of them. LOL.Quite frankly, I haven't been to Medieval Times in a long time, but I liked it when I went, and I would go again for the show, definitely nothing I am "used to". But get over the fact the reviewer wasn't impressed. So what? Move on and support the locale if you are so defensive and fond of it.
Brick / November 24, 2012 at 04:07 pm
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I love the pathetic faces on picture 3. It describes Toronto.
Hamish Grant / November 24, 2012 at 04:21 pm
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Really? Arguing over the merits of a review of Medieval Times, a dinner theatre that could only be charitably reviewed in the back pages of an amusement park ride enthusiast's newsletter? You don't go for the food - which is why the food review was only four lines... You go for the "experience". I've been twice, both for children's birthday parties. They DO pack'em in don't they. I've always consoled myself that Toronto has the only renovated existing building as its "castle" - the rest of the locations in the MT chain are all big box stripmall anchors. Of course on the inside, they're all the same. It's formula entertainment at its most uninspired and they should be happy someone even bothered to have a look.
lisa / November 24, 2012 at 05:13 pm
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I reviewed the show having never been before, and wasn't quite so harsh. For those curious: http://www.turntherecordover.com/2012/11/am-i-an-official-torontonian-now-that-ive-been-to-medieval-times/
James / November 24, 2012 at 05:45 pm
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OK, clearly some in this comment section are emotionally invested - get over it, it's a review. God I'm so sick of people jumping all over anyone willing to put themselves out there and provide their two cents. If you thought it was so moving, where is your review? Sorry just trying to stick up for all those bloggers, writers and journalist that always get attacked for actually doing something productive with their energy - usually for free.
holly replying to a comment from James / November 24, 2012 at 06:21 pm
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Very well said, James! I totally agree.
jameson / November 24, 2012 at 06:27 pm
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I'm incredibly amazed regarding the outrage over the review. Pretty sure the point of the place is to appeal to 12 year old boys.

Further, Medieval times was in the Cable Guy! Come on, that movie sucks, and this place was a key part of that!

I really like the fact blogTO published a review. And I like that it stated what we were all expecting. I would've been pissed off if the review said the place was good.
Me / November 24, 2012 at 06:55 pm
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I'm not outraged as I've never been. I just enjoy making fun of BlogTO's badly written articles as they make me laugh when I bother to read them. Take it serious? Nope, never, it's the internet and too many people think themselves self important and serious as it is. Of course there is also the few items here that ARE interesting like the historical photos by a few that really do know how to write and actually are knowledgeable but they are so few and far between. Mostly i read the comments as it's fun to watch the Loony Left get themselves into a froth over nothing most of the time.
Me replying to a comment from lisa / November 24, 2012 at 07:04 pm
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Excellent Lisa, and so much more positive than anything written here. Cheers!!
embers / November 24, 2012 at 07:21 pm
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Nice post, MT is not likely to change your life but it's a fun night out. Also, that trailer photo is awesome.
acv66 / November 24, 2012 at 11:28 pm
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the food is crap , service is terrible, one of the workers spilled the shitty soup allover my date and only gave us 2 free tickets . i will never go here again
the lemur replying to a comment from JonnyBee / November 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm
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There is nothing Swiss about the food at Swiss Chalet.
TheDude / November 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm
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And for the record, the show is less 'narrative driven' than the previous one, because audiences hated the previous one. Nobody wants to listen to pages of poorly written and poorly acted dialogue while youre digging into your greasy chicken. If Sean Bean wanted to join the cast, maybe they'd reconsider.
Grow Up / November 28, 2012 at 08:18 pm
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This place could only appeal to socially challenged, 40 year old RPG fetishists.
Me / November 28, 2012 at 09:27 pm
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So, the average BlogTO reader.......oops.

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