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Medieval Madness!

May 7, 2013

Recently I attended Medieval Madness, held in Alexandria in Virginia. It costs $60, and for that you get a medieval show plus dinner. It is easy to get to, being on King Street, the metro can be used to get there, and of course, you can drive.

First things first, the food. There were bread rolls to keep you going, and then first course was a beef and chicken pie, with fruits, alongside peas and a sausage. This, we were told, was the meal served at Henry V’s coronation in 1413. By this stage I was full and first course was delicious, but the main course was still to come. For the main course, we had chicken with rice and blueberries, again, delicious. For desert, we had something similar to pound cake with a strawberry and cream sauce, I can’t quite remember what it was called but it was very nice! I can’t comment on the quality of the ale and the mead, but there is either one free mug of mead or two of ale. This meal was meant to be authentic, and I can imagine it was very close to being so.

In-between courses, medieval entertainment was available, in the form of some comedy. The show is changed every few months, and for us, we had a debate between the Duke and Duchess. Audience members asked questions for the Duke and Duchess to answer, and they could defend themselves to see who would be sent as a delegate to the King’s council he has called. I lost track of the debate, it was fairly repetitive and the comedy in it wasn’t the best. The funniest thing was the Duchess’s English accent, she said ‘grand master plan’ a lot, and it was so elongated and posh I simply couldn’t help but laugh. There was other entertainment on offer, a sword fight by two people who would fight three rounds the winner winning money from a pot handed round before the fight. The sword fighting was impressive, and so I really enjoyed this part.

Every staff member was in character and put on English accents, some of which were really good. My favourite was the friar, who had taken a vow of silence; he won the crowd over during the debate by holding up some very intriguing signs. The setting was also very impressive, the hall had the throne at the top for the Duke and Duchess and two long tables, which the guests all sat at. The hall was decorated with medieval artefacts and various banners and standards; it had a very nice feel to it. I think the characters and setting did make it along with the food, it made it feel authentic.

Unfortunately, there were some bad points, everyone knows a tip is almost always required, and obviously not included in the price. The thing is, the waitresses, when reading out the rules, discussed how we should tip them in detail, and it was mentioned again a few times. I felt they overdid it slightly, it was almost verging on rude.

So, other than the tipping and the poor comedic factor, this show was worth going to. I had a lot of fun, and the food was good.

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