Medieval Times

GTA Tripping: Medieval Times

Medieval Times is a no-brainer stimulation-fest for kids -- if you've got 'em, take 'em. But as we learned last Sunday evening, Medieval Times just might be a good time for everyone. As an example, we saw several groups of older tourists who were well into the unique combination of dinner and acrobatic theater. Also, there were various inexplicable groups of College Bros sipping sips from cups equipped with flashing lights, or shaped like golden armour helmets having a great time, their voices often drowning out those of the kids sitting around them.

And even for us, a pair of cynical-but-wide-eyed explorers, Medieval Times was a thoroughly enjoyable trip. Where else in the city can you witness the art of falconry, eat half a chicken with your bare hands, shout "Wench!" or "Serf!" when you need a re-fill of your Pepsi and then watch six dudes on horses chop each other in half with swords and axes?

Medieval Times

But of course, as is probably required to enjoy things like WWE wrestling or a XXX hypnotist, the suspension of disbelief required here is so massive it runs the risk of causing brain damage. It's such a ridiculous thing that you do as an audience member at Medieval Times that unless you are a kid, overly imbibed, or elderly and maybe only half-grounded in reality anyway, it takes serious dramatic commitment. You become an actor yourself, clapping and cheering on the knight dressed in a colour that corresponds to the the seat you're sitting in.

But we were loving it! Wooo, go Yellow Knight -- "The Lion Uncaged" -- or as we knew him, Dan!

When we arrived, the Serfs and Wenches started bringing out the food. The food at Medieval Times is basically Swiss Chalet minus the Chalet Sauce, but it didn't matter, we hadn't come to eat -- we had come for blood! And blood Dan delivered, in a series of captivating simulated fights and athletic challenges.

Medieval Times

But Medieval Times is more than just random displays of this acrobatic swords-/lance-/mace-/axe-manship... it is a theatrical performance with a storyline complete with heroes, villains and even a plot twist here and there. Or so Dan the Knight tells us. I'm not sure if it was my own crippling lack of an attention span or the Chancellor's numbingly boisterous narration style, but even on this, my second visit to the newly revamped Medieval Times show, the plot totally eluded me.

Maybe you can do better, but even with my fastidious note-taking, the gist of the story as I understood it went something like this: There is a truce with the Kingdom of Leon, and the prince of You-land (I'm not sure where we're supposed to be... Toronto?) is sent to Leon as... a peace offering(?) but then is kidnapped on the way. Then a bird flies around, a TV weather girl talks to someone in a pleading voice, the Green Knight is angry and then there's some jousting. You notice that your Wench is pretty cute, and then one of the Knights wins by chopping someone in half.

Medieval Times

In our case, the winner was Dan, the Yellow Knight, just as he told us he would be. (We really ought to have been throwing down bets in the aisles!)

Dan, his fellow Knights and the horses were really the highlight, regardless of the script (which, let's face it, is about as important to the success of the thing as the script for Porky's). The adeptly executed and taughtly choreographed fight sequences would impress anyone, and they certainly had our eyes glued to the action. The sparking sword clashes, the full-tilt saddle bailing, the splintering lances and the driving cinematic music made for a visceral experience that was undeniably entertaining.

After the show, we monopolized Dan's autograph time, grilling him about the Knight life. It's not really that hard to become a Knight, or so he said, but after he told us that the Knights are subject to drug testing, and that he once performed two shows in a row with a split skull he didn't even know he had sustained in an injury the previous night, we didn't buy it. You've got to be athletic, fiercely coordinated and dedicated to blowing your audience's mind night after night. Good show, brave Sir Knight!

Medieval Times

Photos by Tara Marie Phillips and Bitpicture on Flickr

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