Behind the Scenes at “The Urban Circus”

“The Urban Circus” was presented by Ning & myself as a platform for upcoming amateur and semi-professional variety arts performers to showcase their crafts to a heartland audience.

As the objective of the show was to expose the local community to different variety arts, the show was presented at the Marine Parade Community Club Theatrette, a neighbourhood community theatre.

The show starred Larry the Daredevil Magician with Joycelyn, Kinetic Gal, Dean Wong, Jazz Ang and Charmaine Kho.

All photos are credited to Daryl Seah unless otherwise stated.

On 30 May 2010, Sun, doors opened at 4.15pm and the theatre soon filled up to a full house.

Lights darkened and a lyrical but dark circus-themed music filled the air. ‘Magic Babe’ Ning, our sexy ring mistress for the show, provided the following voice-over opening address.

“Welcome friends, family, one and all,
To the seaside east of sunny Singapore 

Prepare yourself for a grand spectacle
Or as the Greeks would say, a collection of the unusual 

In ancient Rome when the circus played,
It was a public show that the people embraced 

Men, women, children and all,
Gathered to be amazed, thrilled and awed 

The legend of cirque will forever continue,
As variety arts we hope to preserve, cherish and renew 

A company of performers awaits your attention,
Ready to exceed your wildest expectation 

For this is The Urban Circus…
Hosted by yours truly, heartfelt & earnest”

Backlights came on to cast her sexy silhouette, which seemed to form into view, onto the curtain . The curtains parted to reveal her in her full glory! Greeting the audience, Ning proceeded to explain the premise of the show.

Each act in the show was then subsequently introduced by Ning in person or through a voiceover that gave background on the variety art. For the first act, she transformed a paper rose to a real one through the use of a candle flame.

This segued to Larry the Daredevil Magician who opened with his fire act and modern sword basket illusion.

He followed with his rendition of the Strait Jacket Escape but with a see-through PVC restraint jacket instead of the regular canvas one.

He closed his act with an original escape that I designed called “The Trap Box”. It is a one-handed escape from a small ATA case with a big twist. Stainless steel hair-trigger spring-loaded animal traps are mounted on the door of the case to make Larry’s job much more difficult and dangerous.

In the course of escaping, he accidentally tripped the traps and one snagged his hand. Undaunted, he pulled his hand free and finally picked his way out of all locks to escape from “The Trap Box”.

Magic Parasol Manipulator, Jazz Ang, took the stage next after a transitional soundbed of thunder, wind howls, evil laughter and rain. He produced multiple parasols, manipulated silks & playing cards effortlessly, all themed to the colour red.

Charmaine Kho, who has a passion for belly dancing, took the stage next for a traditional Middle Eastern dance. Her dance flowed into Ning’s weapons twirling act that saw her skillfully handle Japanese sais and nunchuks.

(Photo credit Weili Chua)

The winner of our “Own the Stage” auditions did indeed own the stage with his stage magic act. Dean Wong captured the hearts of the audience with his production of canes, dancing cane routine and rope manipulation. He finished off with a light at the fingertips routine that ended with a red snowstorm! A beaming Dean later was presented his “Own the Stage” winner trophy, along with $500 of cash and prizes from Ning.

(Photo credit Weili Chua)

(Photo credit Weili Chua)

The final performer for the evening was Kinetic Gal. She was a fitting close to “The Urban Circus” with her distinct magic & juggling show. I’ve been working with her for about 3 years on most of her material but only for a year with her brand new kids illusion show.

She opened her dynamic act with a unique colour-changing juggling rings act that was followed by her ball juggling magic act. She closed her opening set with what must be the world’s first self-sawing in half illusion while doing the yo-yo.

Next up, she performed two magic routines targeted at the kids. They went wild with excitement with her different comedy routines, including one that had a child up on stage.

One of Kinetic Gal’s signature acts is her “Blindfold Club Juggling” which she successfully attempted. For her closing illusion, she presented my version of Jim Steinmyer’s “Lady in a Puzzle” routine but with a rubik’s cube theme. She vanishes a “doll-like” character much to the surprise of the audience.

(Photo credit Weili Chua)

 After the show, the cast mingled outside with the audience members and took photos.

Ning with members from the International Brotherhood of Magicians Singapore Ring 115 – John & Betsy Teo and Kenneth Chia

Cast of “The Urban Circus” with the producer

The Concept:Magic team

All the performers stepped up to the plate to deliver on a level that they are probably not used to performing at. It was a great experience working with several of the acts over the last few months, some more. They definitely brought their acts up several notches with tighter production value, music design and technical refinements.

Not many people will know how much work goes into producing an original act. Our actual show production techniques are a trade secret but one thing for sure is that it takes much time and effort. Just as an athlete trains for a sporting event, a serious performer puts in as much work to stage a 5 min act.

Even costuming takes tremendous time and effort, especially when you don’t have a bottomless money pit to dig in. So, we rely on resourcefulness and creativity 🙂 Ning’s attire was particularly fun to put together over a period of several weeks.

There was a minor hiccup at the start of the show. Unfortunately, the dimmer box of the theatre tripped right at the start of the show. So, we had “flat” light for the first 6 minutes of the show, it seemed like an eternity. Our intended lighting design for the opening segment of the show did not go on as planned which was a pity. 

But, it is a community theatre after all, not a state of the art performance center. Power allocation is always an issue for all events and we had already taken precaution due to the additional lights we brought in. However, the rest of the show’s lighting cues went perfectly. I’m thankful that it did not go off in the middle of the show otherwise that would have been obvious to the audience.

BTW, photos of “The Urban Circus” were first published on Facebook. So, join us at to always be the first to know! 🙂

Look out for various videos soon!

About J C Sum

International Headline Entertainer, Content Creator and Investor
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4 Responses to Behind the Scenes at “The Urban Circus”

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