Neil E. Dee started “doing weird stuff” in the late 90s and he’s parlayed that into a career full of walking on broken glass, taking spikes to the face and swallowing swords, among other crazy antics.
He and his cohorts in the Danger Thrill Show will be doing a few of those tricks at the River City Pub on Thursday, June 9.
Dee grew up in a small town in Ontario and drew inspiration from circus side show acts and Ripley’s Believe it or Not, among other things. After moving to Vancouver he started his own performance company, Unusual Entertainment, and currently headlines shows that also feature Fatt Matt, known as the world’s largest contortionist, and Lil Burks, a fire eater.
“Matt is over 400+ pounds of funny flexibility…he’s head to toe in spandex. He’s pretty amazing,” Dee said.
In addition to fire eating, Burks does acts involving nails, and walks, dances and jumps on broken glass.
Sword swallowing is always a highlight for the audience, and it’s Dee’s main speciality.
Not a hobby for the faint of heart, Dee perfected his craft carefully.
“I was lucky enough to work with a few sword swallowers throughout the years and you get picking their brains and get some advice and tips and a little instruction along the way,” Dee said.
“Your body has a natural urge to reject something like a sword being shoved down your throat. You learn to suppress those and push it a little further each time.”
Despite the obvious potential for injury associated with his act, Dee hasn’t sustained any serious ones during his shows — just a few cuts and scrapes and the occasional sore throat, as one might imagine.
“We know what we’re doing, we’re professionals at it,” Dee said. “Matt and I have been in the business for over 15 years doing stupid things to our bodies.”