To the delight of the crowd, Axel reaches up for a treat. Photos by James Kinneen.
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
The classic magician’s assistant is an attractive woman in a bright red dress who acts to distract audience members from wherever the illusionist doesn’t want them looking.
But kids aren’t distracted by pretty girls in red dresses, they’re distracted by dogs.
So, to that end, on the night of July 29, the Wellesley Library hosted The Greg and Axel show, a comedy magic extravaganza featuring Greg McAdams and his rescue dog/assistant/husky-Pyrenees mix, Axel.
After noting that the theme of his show would be “superheroes,” McAdams started off by bringing out a blank superhero coloring book. McAdams implored the crowd to pull the colors off their shirts and throw them onto the book. Suddenly, the book’s pages were colored. Then, he asked the crowd to take their colors back.
Now, the book’s pages were completely blank, and McAdams shouted in a feigned annoyance.
Finally, the kids were to use an imaginary pencil to draw the lines back in, and McAdams showed the book had been restored to its original form.
Then, McAdams promised to bring out “the star of the show” before pulling a literal star out of his back pocket. A few kids chuckled while he placed the star on the floor, then put a duplicate star just to the right of it. Then, it was time for Axel to make his appearance.
Axel slowly sauntered out of his cage, then laid down until McAdams got him to go on his hind legs and reach for a treat. The kids in the crowd responded to this trick the same way they would to Siegfried and Roy vanishing a 500 lb Bengal tiger, ooh-ing and aah-ing while getting up on their knees until McAdams told them that he needed them to sit “criss cross applesauce.”
After Axel’s introduction, McAdams stated that for his next trick, he “needed a few victims… I mean volunteers!” The type of volunteer he was looking for was “a child that was sitting quietly, raising their hand and has a nice big… 100 dollar bill… I mean smile! A nice big smile!”
He chose two volunteers (no money was exchanged), who were placed on the stars and given sheets of cloth with the letters H, E, R, and O on them. The children were assured that to make the magic work, they needed to use Greg’s oldest and most valuable wands. When given the wands they, of course, collapsed in half in the kids’ hands, while McAdams screamed “What happened?” Eventually, the kids put their cloths into a bag, and McAdams pulled out a single piece of cloth with a superhero image on it.
For his final trick, Greg brought out Axel and picked another animal helper off his fur: Ronaldo, the world’s strongest tick. While invisible and apparently not a big enough star for equal billing along Greg and Axel, Ronaldo was able to beat McAdams in a tug of war game, during which the rope the magician was holding suddenly went from loose to tense and straight when Ronaldo was pulling the other side of it.
With Ronaldo in his hand, McAdams told the crowd to give the flea a round of applause, then caught himself clapping along before realizing he’d squished the imaginary critter. When the kids gasped and laughed, he assured them it was no big deal because, “I know Flea-P-R!”
For the last part of the show, kids were invited to come up and pet Axel, which was the highlight of the show for most.
Axel may never put the famed, pretty magician’s assistants out of work - but he can’t give away any of Greg McAdams’ secrets, either.