“A slicked-up version of good old-fashioned Saturday-night spook show… Funny, furious and wholly enthralling” – Terry Teachout, WALL STREET JOURNAL
“This wild, wicked show is not just a screamfest; it’s a good piece of theater” – NEW YORK TIMES
Thrill seekers, spiritualists, lovers of magick, the occult, the ghoulish and the grotesque, step right up. Have we got a show for you. The show of all shows, in fact, where God’s mistakes and mischief will be celebrated on stage for your bewilderment and delight. Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, we give you PLAY DEAD, an enormously entertaining live performance film directed and co-written by the legendary Teller (of Penn & Teller), shot by Dark Stars Rising author Shade Rupe and performed by the supernaturally charismatic and brilliantly funny illusionist/sideshow performer Todd Robbins, who co-authored the show. What is it, you ask? Nothing less than a no holds-barred recreation of the live midnight spook shows of yesteryear, a macabre history lesson, a discourse on evil, a black love letter to the art of storytelling, brought to life with continuous stabs of comedy, touches of tragedy and glowing theatricality. On this night, you will witness a spectacular reenactment of an old world séance hustle, meet serial killer Albert Fish, spend time in the company of a hungry circus geek, be told true ghost stories and so much more. You will love every second of it.
An absolutely spellbinding experience, PLAY DEAD began its life as an off-Broadway play in NYC two years ago. It continues to be performed, on and off, in various cities. Teller and Robbins have humbly described their show as “an evening of spooky amusement”, but it is a good deal more than that. It’s a thoughtful, humorous and deadly smart performance piece that bridges a love for vintage carnival sideshow acts, magic shows and grotesqueries with a drive to educate and inform. Both Robbins and Teller are world-class stage magicians and live-performance vets, so it’s no surprise that PLAY DEAD is a show to be reckoned with. Robbins is a phenomenal performer, gifted in stagecraft and graced with speed-of-light wit. As his white suit grows progressively more red throughout the show, the result of several mid-story “happenings” best left unrevealed, you will be smiling from ear to ear. A great time awaits you here, if you dare to embrace it. Trust us, take the dare.
— Mitch Davis