View more photos in Josh “CuriousJosh” Reiss' slideshow, “'Mr. Dead's Underground' Takes Over The Magic Castle.”
Tuesday night, we went to check out Mr. Dead's Underground, the Halloween event presented by The Academy of Magical Arts and Rudy Coby at The Magic Castle. The event consisted of shows in multiple rooms throughout the legendary venue. We were able to catch two of the performances.
Inside the Palace of Mystery, Mr. Dead, an extremely agile corpse, hosted a variety show that included juggling, tap dancing and, of course, magic. Mr. Dead was played by Mat Plendl, whose website boasts that he is the “world's greatest hula hoop artist.” After watching him on Tuesday, it's safe to say this isn't hyperbole.
For what is the main performance of the evening, Mr. Dead linked together the card tricks of Tony Clark, Frank Olivier's juggling routine and a special puppets and magic routine from Rudy Coby, who wasn't listed on the program as a performer for that night. One of the highlights was when Dorothy Dale Kloss tapped across the stage. She's an 87-year-old dancer who, according to the program, was named the “World's Oldest Working Showgirl” by the Guiness Book of World Records. Watching her was downright inspirational.
Later, we headed downstairs to The Inner Circle for Freakshow Deluxe. The circus sideshow-inspired troupe, who is only playing at The Magic Castle through Thursday night, has been around since 2001. They relocated from Ohio to Hollywood in 2005 and have been the recipients of Hollywood Fringe's award for “best cabaret/circus.”
We had the chance to speak with Freakshow Deluxe founder Rev. Tommy Gunn after Tuesday night's show. He said that the idea formed when he and a friend had to “entertain the queue” at an outdoor event in Ohio. Their inspiration and beginnings may be in the sideshow, but that's not necessarily an accurate description of the group now. This week, they had members split between four locations (Los Angeles, Denver, Las Vegas and Virginia, near Richmond) for performances. They headline gigs and are one of very few non-magician groups to play The Magic Castle. As Gunn says, they've gone from “two guys and a handful of stunts to tours and TV appearances.”
Mr. Dead's Underground runs at The Magic Castle through Halloween. Though the club is members only and they do offer trial memberships. Check the website for show times and details.