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The Little Top Circus and Medicine Show at Union Hall to sell snake oil pills

These circus performers have some snake oil to sell you

The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s the cure for all ailments, including gingivitis, the common cold, and even that pesky cancer, depending on which huckster you ask.

Join the Good Reverend Doctor Professor Elucius Clay and his dim-witted lackey Stitch the Geek for an evening of raucous revelry and spiritual rejuvenation at the world-renowned Little Top Circus and Medicine Show, the only place where you’ll find the one concoction that has the medical establishment shaking its stethoscopes in abject defeat — snake oil!

“What can snake oil cure? It depends on what ails you,” said Justin Blaser, who will devolve into the inarticulate fool Stitch the Geek come Feb. 23 at Union Hall. “I can’t tell you the ingredients, but they’re FDA-approved.”

Snake oil is a miraculous potion — in pill form — which only the Good Reverend Doctor Professor Elucius Clay could develop. And the elixir is exclusively sold at the Little Top Circus and Medicine Show, alongside a fine selection of tobacco products and musical recordings.

“We actually sell these things,” said Ian MacKenzie, who plays the Good Reverend Doctor. “We go around selling CDs, cigars, and snake oil pills.”

To demonstrate the effectiveness of the medicine, the show will have skeptics and wonderers watch as this astonishing capsule transforms Stitch the Geek from a bewildered dolt to an Achilles of men, capable of astounding physical feats, suffering all manner of unpleasant stimulations with an untarnished grin.

“I do sword swallowing, bed of nails, straight jacket escapes, and block head, which is where you hammer a nail straight into your face,” Blaser said. “I also do fire-breathing, fire-eating, and a couple bits with staple guns.”

This marvel of science and medicine may be the main draw, but it is not the only attraction to this church of circuses, which counterbalances its more macabre acts with a wholesome, godly sermon courtesy of the Good Reverend Doctor Professor.

“There’s a large religious component I inject, to add something on top of the already strange criteria we’ve set for ourself,” said MacKenzie. “It’s not just a 19th-century medicine show, it’s a 19th-century medicine show in the south.”

Thanks to his near divine status in Brooklyn’s occult and theurgical circles, the Good Reverend Doctor Professor draws a diverse crowd of riveting performers who frequently drop in unannounced.

“We’re fortunate to have a whole coterie of burlesque performers accompanying us, either burlesque or hoochie coochie dancers, which are basically hot people getting out there and dancing, and our little band will play stuff and they’ll just shake their booty,” said MacKenzie.

The Little Top Circus and Medicine Show at Union Hall [702 Union St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 638–4400, www.unionhallny.com]. Feb. 23, 10 pm. $8.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 10:08 pm, July 9, 2018
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