Summer Circus Keeps the City’s Parks Jumping

Summer Circus Keeps the City’s Parks Jumping

by Cindy Marvell

A partner can mean twice the awe onstage, twice the laughs, yet not always four times the props. Several contemporary circus duos illustrate these aptly entertaining friendships as part of Circus Now’sSummerstage series.

With a name that belies their gentle, disarming opening, The Incredible Incredible, aka. Matthew “Poki” McCorkle and Justin Therrien, weave imitation and interactive hattery into an entertainment called Palindrome. A hat-on-cloth illusion captures the fancy of the audience especially of the young folk having an out-of-this-world day in their local park.

Lucas Hicks on accordion makes this a trio as the music upholds and almost prods the action, an invisible prop. Shoelace drama yields poi skills and a suitcase mime sequence seems inevitable.

Magic emerges when Poki picks up a mini hoop for a solo piece. He is known for expertise with multiple mini-hoops and offers workshops for those wishing to master or avoid impediment with the form. In this floating sequence of isolations reminiscent of Moschen, McCorkle brings out the poetic quirkiness of the form. As the winner of a “Hoopie Award” and as a Moisture Festival performer Poki’s willingness to mix insider skills with performance values creates theatricality.

Returning to earth in the Summerstage show he shares a meal with his partner. What would sound (or silent) nutrition be without a fork in the nose and a fully engaged volunteer? Part of local theater is getting it out there and an unpredictable portion of the crowd got into it. The Incredible duo will next take its production to the Oregon Country Fair and the Edmonton Fringe.

Magmanus Company took Brooklyn’s Pier 1 by storm as the 4th of July approached, bringing acrobatic tricks, flying clubs, and just enough sweaty goofiness to cause a bit of controversy in New York City. Magmanus duo hails from Sweden with collaborators Manu Tiger of France and Magnus Bjoru of Norway. The relationship illustrates many complexities such as teeterboard transactions, backflip buffoonery, and juggling gyrations. These intrepid performers proved they could catch a number of high-flying objects or catch each other if necessary. The duo presents teeterboard as stunt theater rather than as a traditional act. This includes some comedic undressing en l’air.


Lots of fun, but what thrilled the audience were the planned close calls: a performer jumping over another with legs fully extended or seeming to flip over the statue of liberty conveniently located in the background. The rustle-tustle energy of the pair infused the antics and kept the surprises coming. A volunteer as a type of judge seemed intrigued.

Magmanus staged a similar show at Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival in June and is in the process of readying an international tour. For dates to come, including Montreal and arts centers in New York, check

Coming to Summerstage: the Gizmo Guys, Allan Jacobs and Barrett Felker. These shows will be in parks around Manhattan, where the duo is based. Jacobs, club swinging re-inventor, and Felker, numbers guru, both individual IJA champions, meet in a place of suspended gravity and share their innovative collaboration with tossery, mimicry, and props that know what to do ranging from hats to cigar boxes. And maybe four times the clubs.