By Craig Schneider
As their website says: “The Canterbury Feast is the longest running medieval musical comedy in the USA”. Right here in Erie, PA. You can’t really say you’re from Erie if you haven’t experienced this wacky Erie Institution.
The meal is served “a la utensils” which means that you eat with your hands and slurp your soup. This was a lot of fun for my tablemates and very efficient for our Server to cleanup. This was how our ancestors ate for millions of years, so gives you a bit of respect for it. A huge loaf of bread is passed around the table and you tear off as much as you want. A whole roast chicken (per person) is served at Intermission, followed by dessert, apples and cheese before the last Drinking Song. Yes, drinking and singing are recommended.
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that a Presidential election is upon us. So too in the land of Canterbury, where King “Ronald Rump” (David Durst) and rival ruler Queen “Hilda Beast” (Carrie Smith) are vying for control of the Kingdom. Great job by David Durst, who not only wrote a great show and provided the choreography and song selections, but he also took on the role of the oldest and wisest man in the kingdom, “Ernie Panders”. His King “Ronald Rump” is hilarious, with the voice inflections and a wig that threatens to fly off his head. Several times during the show he runs offstage, dons a wizard cloak and white wig to satire that elder statesman from New England who knows all and can give you everything for nothing.
Carrie Smith is also spot on as the calculating and scheming “Hilda Beast” who rocks her kingdom in a pink pantsuit. Selena Lewandowski plays her daughter Rosie, who is waiting for her Prince (David W. Mitchell) to come. The son of “Ronald Rump” Prince Itchabod has shall we say, not come of age yet. Selena plays Rosie with naïve sexiness and a speech impediment. David is a joy to watch playing both the prince as a boy and a man, sometimes switching back and forth in seconds. David is also a very accomplished dancer and singer.
Zack Work portrays the Kings henchman, a Jersey Boy who plots to ruin the Queens plans with a love potion from Ernie’s sister “Gert” (Pam Durst), a sorceress and man chaser. Pam is brilliant as the old crone. She puts everything into her performance and she has a lot to give. Duchess “Elizabeth Borin” (Cara Niebling), is the Queens right hand, who becomes enamored of “Ernie” and the sweet thing wants to be his Server.
There is a bit of Sexiness as well as Politics in the show and lots of double entendres: including “Never keep your Server in the Basement!” among many others. The actors together are even better than they are individually. Please go out to the Station Dinner Theatre and “get medieval”!
The Canterbury Feast will continue Sept. 30, Oct. 1-2, 7-8, 21-22, 28-29 and Nov. 4-5, 11-13, 18-19 at the Station Dinner Theatre, 4940 Peach St. Performances are Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $38, $33 for seniors and students, $23 for children 6 to 11. They can be reserved by calling 864-2022 or online at www.canterburyfeast.com.