Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Myrtle Beach has unveiled a whole new show, with new music, costumes and choreography for all six Knights of the Realm, the cast and the horses, too.
Paco Perez-Luna, Medieval Times longtime local general manager, said some traditions will remain, such as the 11th-century setting, and the six sections color-coded by knight: yellow, blue, black and white, red, red and yellow and green.
Myrtle Beach marks the sixth of the companys nine sites across North America to undergo the transfer of shows. The shows ride a four-year cycle in each place.
Daniel May from the Czech Republic has teamed up for a third collaboration for the music score, recorded in Kiev, Ukraine. Medieval Times said the music incorporates electric guitars and rock percussion for the first time, all folded into a classic orchestra and show choir that bears more of a Russian feel.
The music hits a peak with the combat choreography and in showcasing the horses, especially with the new opening number, when a single Andalusian stallion steps out for Horse at Liberty, without any rider or accompaniment. His bangs bounce, and the soundtrack stresses the respect horses have commanded through the ages.
Diners, who eat without utensils, still will see the knights engage in a round of games before the king and princess, showcasing such skills as lancing on a target, and for the final matches, jousting in duels.
Additions to the show, such as relay races by the knights on horseback, are not staged exhibitions.
Sales manager Jennifer Willard said the riders get very competitive when it comes to this part.
Another enhancement plays out earlier in the evening, for calling out the kings guard, when eight riders and their Andalusian partners, up from six, prance in a regal routine.
Other horse breeds among a herd of 22 head that share the stage include: a Frisian draft that has carried the master of ceremonies for seven years, Willard said, and quarter horses, used in the jousting rounds.
Long before the king exclaims, Let the games begin, the princess helps in a toast before dinner, to honor, glory, chivalry, victory and to the Knights of the Realm. The food servers and a falconry demonstration take turns in the spotlights as well, and dressage and other equestrian skills equal other forms of dessert.
Later, when the winning knight takes his lap, hell do more than fling carnations.
He will honor not only the princess, but will personally crown one diner in his cheering section as the Queen of Love and Beauty, a great chance, like the meet-and-greets after the show, to see the majestic apparel up close.
Willard described the new attire for the show cast, all done in-house, as more traditional looking tapestry with graphic representations of coats of arms. The yellow knight sports a pattern that includes a checkered design, and stripes mark a signature for the black-and-white knights garb.
When they weigh 20 pounds and feel like drapery, she said, you know you have a good costume.
She also called the riding show hosts Frisian a big puppy dog who doesnt wince when any of the sparks fly as knights swords clash or when jousting poles break into pieces upon impact with shields.
He has a new costume, so hes happy, Willard said.