Ventriloquist and all-age friendly comedian Neale Bacon was at the Vanderhoof library Wednesday, July 10 and he brought a few of his friends.
There was a puppet named Clarice, a chicken who managed to lay three eggs for the audience of more than 50 kids. This summer, as part of the summer reading club, the library’s theme is Up, Up and Away, so a chicken who needed to learn how to fly fit perfectly.
“Now sometimes people don’t know how to describe my show,” Bacon said to his audience. “Are you a magician? No I’m not. Are you a puppeteer? No.” Well Bacon first started out as a magician at age 13 and brought ventriloquism into his repertoire because so few people were doing it.
He had a mentor, a fellow magician, who asked him how many magicians there were out there compared to the number of ventriloquists. When Bacon realized that there were far fewer ventriloquists he decided to go with what set him apart.
Bacon also introduced Canada’s national symbol to the kids when he pulled out a plush beaver named Castor. Castor thought he was a cow but the audience had to correct him. Everyone was entertained, parents and children alike, with jokes and magic tricks for all audiences.
There are a handful of other animals in Bacon’s act as well, he prefers to use animal puppets because he said it’s like a talking toy, the kids get into the pretend of the act right away.
Ventriloquism lets him entertain people and get them to laugh, the part of the act that he enjoys the most, a hilarious show.
Neale Bacon finds his work very rewarding. He described how one child, after seeing the show, said to his mom “Okay, but how did the animals talk?”
Ventriloquism is a performance that goes up and down in public appeal while magic usually stays about the same, according to Bacon. Ventriloquists like Jeff Dunham have brought the stagecraft back into the public attention.
Bacon designed his act specifically for the library in order to promote reading and literacy in children. He designs a lot of his acts around themes or particular locations just to give himself a challenge.
“What some people don’t realize is that this job is 10 per cent show and 90 per cent putting the act together and organizing everything,” said Bacon. “I do specialized shows a lot of the time, if I do one for a company I’ll try and find out any inside jokes or find out who would be a great target to joke with.”
Bacon has been entertaining families for over 35 years and has performed on YTV on the children’s show Zoink’d.