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I have been performing the Axtell Drawing Board over the last seven or eight years, but I had used it only three times for adult audiences.
Few props can match the Axtell Drawing Board‘s effectiveness if performed for children. By default, it holds children’s attention. It makes them laugh. And above all, it drives them crazy.
You should see how children go wild, shouting, pointing, screaming their heads off when I perform it. And I don’t even do vent. I perform it with Axtrax CD using the basic presentation right out of the script that comes with it.
The children don’t care. They don’t grade my performance for originality. They just love to see the talking, singing, moving drawing which drives them nuts!
If the Drawing Board is such a hit with children, do adult audiences appreciate it?
Four years ago (or even more), I didn’t have the answer. So with much trepidation, I performed the Drawing Board at a corporate Christmas party. I sang a duet with the board. I lip synced the voice of Pavarotti, and the female drawing lip synced the voice of Celine Dion.
The act bombed. The people in the audience wore expressions on their faces like a monkey being asked the square root of a four-digit number. They sat stupefied, unable to comprehend what it was I was trying to entertain them with. Was it vent? Magic? Puppetry? Special effect? All of the above? Or none of the above?
From thereon, I dreaded using the Drawing Board for adult audiences. Until one day, I joined an Inner Magic Club’s magic competition. I used it as a kicker at the end of my contest piece, Subano and Baleleng. The Board played only a small part in the performance, but, boy, how its role tied the loose ends of the routine very nicely.
The routine not only won first place, but it got requests from clients to have it performed at their child’s birthday party.
Here’s one mom who emailed me after booking my show: “Please include in your program a magic routine with a story (saw the Subano and Baleleng on the internet and it was so funny. That was so entertaining.)…”
I wrote her back that Subano and Baleleng, in it’s form on the video, can’t be performed at birthday parties. It needs special lighting and rigging that are not available in most birthday party venues. However, I’m working on a method to make it possible to perform it in most lighting and venue conditions.
At the first performance of Subano and Baleleng (not on YouTube anymore), the two judges, nationally prominent entertainers but not magicians, screamed with delight and surprise at the part when the drawing belted the first line of a country song.
At the second performance, which is on the video on this site, the Drawing Board elicited the same surprise laughter and applause from the audience.
My conclusion: provided it’s not drawn out and the routine is well thought out, the Drawing Board can entertain even adults.