Archive for the 'Close Up' Category

Ramsay’s Review: T2P Shawn Farquhar

Posted by Cameron on December 18th, 2010

Magic Reviews by Cameron Ramsay

Hello readers! Welcome to my new review section. If you are looking for a column where a guy rips into bad magic products than tries to trash the creator than this is not the column for you. My whole idea and goal for the review column is to just highlight good effects and recommend creators that put out great products. Yes the format of the column might change but hang on there guys, this should be a cool trip


Torn to Pieces

Shawn Farquhar

Manufacturer’s Description

Here’s the killer effect Shawn has kept secret for over a decade. It’s the effect Shawn does when he wants to get a client to book him again and again! A real photograph, signed by the spectator, is torn into four pieces. The photo is really torn. Then in an instant all four pieces join together but in the wrong order leaving the spectator with a mismatched photo with their signature! That’s right their signature is on the odd “almost restored” photo.

Cameron’s Description

Okay it’s not often you see an effect that is a killer on television and that’s also usable for a walk- around performer. Shawn’s effect does all of that and it leaves you with the chance to add your own personality.

Shawn does give many ideas of what photos to use (he also supplies digital images to get started with) and also presents ideas for many age groups. I am not the best with kids so when I saw Shawn explain the version with Humpty Dumpty I knew it would be going into my close – up arsenal. No, not the soccer team.

Cameron’s Favorite Part

This is a personal effect; it can be used to tell your audience exactly who you are. My favorite aspect is that this can be carried in your wallet and it actually makes sense to have it. Bravo Shawn, Bravo!

Thanks for reading my first column, many more reviews to come. If you have any comments, concerns or submissions please email me or contact via this new thing called the World Wide Web.

@Cameron401 on Twitter

Wayne Houchin – SINFUL: A Graphic Novel

Posted by Corey Martin on April 20th, 2010


Corey Martin is a regular contributor to iTricks Raves.

Most of us remember when we first saw Sinful. For me, it was on an episode of Criss Angel’s “Mindfreak”. A signed coin visually penetrates a sealed soda can. hedshot Magic at one of it’s purest moments. Since that episode it has been hailed as one of the greatest impromptu effects of all time. With all of the classic movies getting a “facelift” these days it is nice to see that some of the great magic effects are getting similar treatment. If you liked the “original” version of Sinful, then you are going to love the new style, tips and handling of the new version. Inside this book not only shows you how to perform an incredible piece of magic, but it also lets you in on just how intense of a process goes into creating something so special. Welcome to Sinful: A Graphic Novel.


Posted by Corey Martin on February 8th, 2010


Corey Martin is a regular contributor to iTricks Raves.

There are countless DVD’s out on the market that focus on the art of card flourishing. Many are rich in visual “eye candy” but very difficult to master. Then there are the select few that look fantastic but are much simpler to master. hedshot Aaron Fisher’s One-Hand Popover is a beautiful piece of slight of hand that can be used as a visual production, a slight or even just a flourish. It combines elements that many magicians use everyday combined with Aaron’s incredible insight and teaching to create a fantastic piece of magic. The DVD is broken down into sections to focus all the attention on the most important parts of the move.  The Grip, The Popover itself, and then taking the actual move an applying it to effects and routines, both as a visual production and a slight.


Jeff Prace GUM

Posted by Jamie on December 21st, 2009

Jamie D. Grant is now a regular contributor to iTricks Raves with an enhanced version of his reviews from

What The Audience Sees:

skitched-20090928-001123.jpg”Okay, okay, okay. So apparently Willy Moth%^ f#^^#n Wonka came into our office on Friday. Yeah, I’m not kidding you. I won’t be surprised if my desk is now made of cotton candy or something! First Jamie did this super quick trick where some aces switched places, which was awesome! We were all lovin’ it. But then, as he’s leaving, he asks us if we want some gum. When he shows us the pack though, there’s only one piece. Big Ted almost trampled poor Shortstop trying to get it when Jamie told him to hold on a second. He waved his hand, and the pack was now full! It was now full of gum! It was utter madness! I mean this was some seriously Golden Ticket magic going on right here. I almost had me an Oompa Loompa! ”

How It Went:

I should mention that the trick where “the aces switched places” that I performed prior to GUM was John Bannon’s version of Doc Daley’s Last Trick. I’ve already reviewed that trick for Magic Friday but John has a specific moment in his handling, which is awesome, that he just released via his new DVD set Bullets After Dark. If you haven’t checked it out, you should.

Okay, so how is Jeff Prace’s GUM? What can I tell you- I love it. I am a big believer in having everything in my life contain a magical property or have the ability to do something magical. I think, and this is just me, that everything I touch should have the ability to obey my command, lol. A nice idea, but pretty impossible. It’s not impossible, however, to stack the odds in my favour. And if I can do so by simply carrying a gum packet around with me, then rock and roll.
Now, some people are probably thinking, do we really need Gum Magic? Is this what our art’s all about? And I say; sure, why not? This trick isn’t going to take people into a new state of consciousness about society or anything but it is something, I think, that they expect a magician to have the ability to do. If I knew a magician, a real magician, liked gum and he/she ran out, I wouldn’t expect them to head to the 7-11. I would expect them to do the very thing that Jeff has enabled us to do. Make it appear, as if by magic.

And it does appear so. It’s real eye candy and looks wonderful. People were absolutely stunned when they saw the full box. What’s great about this is that no one misses it because everyone’s truly paying attention. I mean everyone really wanted a piece of gum, lol. So the disappointment and subsequent joy is real emotion. And the trick itself is utterly foolproof, which leads me to a possible new section…



Posted by Corey Martin on November 23rd, 2009

asi one

Corey Martin is a regular contributor to iTricks Raves.


Some performers and those close to the art of magic well often say, “The most beautiful magic is done up close.” This of course is all hinged upon which style you like, what you perform (if that is the case) and the vast differences between the different magical styles. Every so often we find a performer who takes their style and makes it elegant and a pleasure to watch. Asi Wind has created ‘Chapter One’, a look into the “evolution of magic” and how he has contributed his ideas to that concept. You get very well put together 35-page book which includes five incredible close up card effects, three essays on various topics related to magic and performing, as well as the DVD which includes performances with or without cometary.

Bill Abbott and Richard Sanders POWERBALL 60

Posted by Jamie on October 27th, 2009

Jamie D. Grant is now a regular contributor to iTricks Raves with an enhanced version of his reviews from

What The Audience Sees:

skitched-20090928-001123.jpg”Man, we’ve been talking about Friday all day around here! The Monday water cooler talk has never been so lively; and all because Jamie came up in here and read our &*^%^ minds. You would think we were used to it by now! But Friday was special because it involved something we all know and love- the lottery.

Jamie came in and said that someone had told him that if he was so great at magic and all, then how come he didn’t win the lottery. They had even sent him some scratch and win tickets to prove their point. But Jamie explained to us that sometimes he just gets a feeling about certain things and the lottery just hadn’t been one of those “things” yet. But he showed us the tickets that his friend had sent him and asked us if we wanted to try something. He asked me to think of any number between one and sixty. He then showed me the six tickets and asked how many of them had my number on them. I only had two, to which he said that that was better than most. He put the tickets away though and said he was starting to have one of those feelings he was talking about, and he quickly jotted down something on a Sticky Note. He then asked me what number I was thinking of and, remember, I hadn’t told a soul what that number was yet. But when he turned over the sticky note, my number was on it!!! It was craziness! How does he know these things?! I told no one!!! Big Ted started to clap behind his back and Angry Bob almost cracked a tooth!”

How It Went:

Powerball 60 is awesome. Anytime I can add a routine to my wallet, I am a super happy guy, and this has been in it since I got it. I’ve been performing this every single day and have had such great reactions each and every time. Part of it has to do with the fact that every spectator has been thinking of the same thing at one point or another, namely, if this guy’s so good, how come he hasn’t won the lottery yet. So on Friday, my patter was right on point. Not only did it explain why I had lottery tickets on me, but it also justified why I’m not riding around in a Lambo (I just love saying that word).

There were a couple of hiccups during the day that I’ll go through in the JDG Tip and iTricks Idea but overall this effect went over great. It was interesting to see how many people liked the fact that every number that was scratched was a soccer ball, lol. Everyone commented on that. And the method is absolutely foolproof- I never made a mistake and wasn’t worried about it. A couple of things I did to protect myself was I had the spec lay the lotto tickets face down after they checked them (I didn’t want to see the numbers) and I chose to write the number down and have them verbally say it. I think Bill and Richard suggest, in one of the routines, to have both of you write it down, but I like having them just saying theirs out loud and then I turned mine over.


POINTLESS from Gregory Wilson

Posted by Jamie on October 14th, 2009

Jamie D. Grant is now a regular contributor to iTricks Raves with an enhanced version of his reviews from

What The Audience Sees:

skitched-20090928-001123.jpg“Wow, Jamie sure has had a tough time the last few weeks. I mean some of that magic lately was a bit weak- too bad I can’t tell you about it. Anyways, he made up for it this Friday. And it wasn’t anything big either. Check it out, he took out his pen, right? It was a plain old Bic pen, but he could make the cap jump on and off at will! It was crazy! Basically, he would be holding the pen, writing side up and the cap on the bottom and then he would then just twirl it and the cap would be on the writing part. It was nuts! Just by turning it around he could make the cap go from one end to the other. It was so cool! We loved it!”

How It Went:

Lol, sorry about the delay in Magic Friday reports folks but the last couple Fridays haven’t been the most fantastic, lol. Oh well, that’s the point of MF- to try things out. I was quite happy with this Friday, though. Greg’s new effect played way bigger than I thought it would. I think it has something to do with the fact that everybody has used a Bic pen at one point in his or her life. That, and the fact that the illusion just catches people off guard.

I started off the day doing the full routine but, by the end of the day, would just do it twice. I found that the first time was a “What just happened, show me again!” kind of moment and the second was a “Wha? C’mon, one more time!” to which I would respond, “No.” lol. It’s a perfect little opener that is a great introduction. It’s not like you’re walking up to someone and pulling a bird out of their shoe or anything. You’re simply doing something really visual with an object that they’ve used many times in their own life. It went over really well.


Kostya Kimlat !WARNING

Posted by Editor on September 28th, 2009

Jamie D. Grant is now a regular contributor to iTricks Raves with an enhanced version of his reviews from

skitched-20090928-001123.jpgWhat The Audience Sees:

”This Friday was suh-weeeet! You know why? Fire. That’s why. Jamie was in our office and showed us this lighter he had just bought and explained how he hated that Warning Label sticker that comes on them. So he pulls it off the lighter and asks us if we want to see something cool. “He!!s yes!”, we said. Well, he actually sets the Warning Label on fire, no kidding! The thing goes *poof* but, get this, it reappears back on the lighter in a %^$%$^^# flash!!! I don’t know what else to say! Lighter, sticker off, fire, sticker on. It was awesomely crazy!”

How It Went:

You could probably go outside, right now, light something, anything for that matter, on fire and get a crowd. People love fire. It’s that simple. Now- go outside, light the sticker on your lighter on fire, and make it magically reappear back on the lighter and you’ll get a crowd that’s going crazy, lol. And it really is simple!

Holy Smokes I love this trick! (Ha, ha, get it? I said, “Holy Smokes” and we’re talking about fi…ahem…never mind). It totally rocked it all day Friday. It’s just such a brilliant way to introduce something that we all know plays so well. And people just couldn’t believe the restoration. Almost every single person or group I showed this too demanded to see the lighter after. They just couldn’t believe it. Well done.


Dan White & Dan Hauss LIT

Posted by Editor on September 28th, 2009

Kevin Reylek has had his review selected for iTricks Raves. Would you like to see your review here? Email

I received Lit back in November, and I’ve since performed it for magicians and lay-folks.

I love that the DVD comes with 14 different gimmicks. Refills are available, which I think this is important because this effect just begs to be given away!

Paper Crane did a very nice job with the video editing and DVD authoring. The teaching on the DVD is clear and concise.

We’re taught handlings for the effect by both Dan Hauss and Dan White. I think both handlings are effective. As a lucky coincidence, I have a one-way forcing deck that matches one of my gimmicks, so I’ve tried a few ideas with that as well.

Marion Boykin KABOOM!

Posted by Editor on September 12th, 2009

Mark Tirone has had his review selected for iTricks Raves. Would you like to see your review here? Email

Marion Boykin (MB), has been releasing solid offerings to the magic community both in text and video form for…years(?). I have had the great pleasure to watch him succeed almost every step of the way and have a few inside looks as to what he will be knocking us down with again in the future. With just a quick Google search to his name, you will be able to find all of the information you will ever need regarding The Crimp Change, or The Crimp Move.

Ben Harris

Posted by Editor on September 6th, 2009


Jamie D. Grant is now a regular contributor to iTricks Raves with an enhanced version of his reviews from

skitched-857What The Audience Sees:

”Yo, you want to know what I saw, right? Yeah? You sure? Because I saw the devil, man! Or maybe not! Maybe he’s a miracle worker! Who the %#^# knows what the heck Jamie is! He probably doesn’t even know!!! Check it- he puts a deck of cards on the table, right. He NEVER touches them again; I swear to you it’s true. He doesn’t touch the things. Instead he has me and Big Ted come up with a card. We chose the 2 of Clubs. BOOM! It’s gone, he says. We count the cards. There’s only 51. Big Ted starts to giggle. I start to get nervous. He tells us to turn the cards face up and find the 2 of Clubs. Well, guess what? Yeah, I know you know! The 2 of Clubs isn’t in the deck and the %^$^^$%^^$ pulls it out of his shoe! I couldn’t believe it! Big Ted started doing jumping jacks! Me? I just got the heck out of there before the Seven Horsemen showed up. It was awesome!!!”

How It Went:

I’ve reviewed a Ben Harris effect in the past and gave it a great Rating (Enlightenment) and I’m about to do it again. You know, the thing I liked about Enlightenment was that it was something that I wouldn’t use all the time- it’s something unique that I can break out on special occasions. The Crossroads deck, however, doesn’t fall into that category because I will be using this all the time. I mean, it was almost made for Magic Friday- self working and instantly resettable = awesome.

Everyone loved it, as well. The thing that makes this so impossible is the fact that I never touched the cards. It’s just so surreal. And I didn’t play it like, “I knew you were going to pick the [card]”. Instead, I played it like, “Voila. I just made your card vanish from the deck.” And it killed. Over and over again.


‘Something Else’ Reviewed by Jeff Prace

Posted by Editor on July 29th, 2009

Jeff Prace is special to iTricks Raves. Want to writes a Rave? Email

“I need more non-card stuff,” is a familiar refrain with most close up magicians. Well, it’s Cameron Francis to the rescue as he presents 8 stunning routines with business cards, coins, coin holders, sugar packets and matchboxes. That’s right, no playing cards! Just practical, astonishing, real world effects using everyday objects which you will want to add to your repertoire straight away!


‘Panic’ Reviewed by Corey Martin

Posted by Corey Martin on July 1st, 2009


I would like to welcome you to my first Review here at iTricks. I hope that I will be able to give all the readers out there an in-depth look into some really cool magic, as well as adding a bit of personal spin to things. Up first, ‘Panic’ by Mr. Aaron Fisher. Lets get to it.

The Performance

The DVD opens with a performance of ‘Panic’. Right away you see how Aaron Fisher really takes pride in presenting this effect. Which sets you up for a lot of the advice that is given in the importance of presentation later in the teaching. The effect itself is one that before this, I had never seen before. Everything is done right out in the open, there are no “funny moves”, no un-natural slights, every move you make is simple, and natural which takes away any thought the spectator may have of you trying to do something sneaky. The results, needless to say, are nothing short of spectacular. It is clear, just from the reactions on the DVD that this effect KILLS. (Not literally, that would be bad…very bad)


‘Driven’ Reviewed by Jeff Prace

Posted by Editor on June 8th, 2009

“Can I see a trick?”
“Sorry, I don’t have anything on me.”

What a terrible thing to say.Yet I hear it so many times among magicians. All of that is about to change.

The Official Spam:

Impromptu pen through bills do not get cleaner than this! The following description is exactly what the spectator sees.

Phase 1

The performer borrows a pen and a bill. The bill is folded in half and the pen is inserted vertically into the fold. The bill is unfolded so that the spectators can clearly see the pen is in the bill. The bill is refolded. The performer then slams his hand down onto the end of the pen, driving the tip straight through the fold of the bill. The pen is pulled through the bill and placed behind the performer’s ear. The bill is then opene d… and shown to be completely unharmed!

Phase 2

The bill is once again folded. The pen is then inserted horizontally into the bill so that it is cradled in the fold. The spectators can clearly see that the pen is inside the bill (and it really is!). The performer then grips the tip of the pen and moves it in a sawing motion. The pen melts right through the bill! The bill is opened and seen to be completely unharmed. Everything can be immediately handed out for examination.

Points to consider:

~There are no gimmicks.
~Nothing is added or taken away.
~There are no tears or slits in the bill.
~The trick is 100% impromptu. Borrow any bill and any pen or pencil and you are set to do this effect.

When you purchase Driven you will receive an 11 page PDF containing 19 color photos, clearly detailing every stage of this devastating effect, plus a three minute video which contains a full performance from the spectator’s point of view and a performance from the performer’s point of view. Between the easy to read PDF and the concise videos, you’ll be performing this stunning piece of magic in no time!

You can never have too many impromptu miracles in your repertoire. And Driven is one of the best!

The Teaching:

This is a written e-book that you download onto your computer. Also, two videos are includ ed which show Cameron performing Driven from the front, and then the back. With all three of those resources, you should have no problem learning this. There are also 19 photographs. Cameron is a great writer; he explains everything clearly with detail. The video instructions, which contain no words, help the teaching of the effect a lot. You should have this down in no time. But remember, practice makes perfect.

The Quality:

The e-book and video quality are very good. The photographs and video are clear. You can tell it was not made through a web-cam. It’s better than most homemade productions I’ve seen, and I applaud Cameron for that. It’s a step up from others.


Intro: Cameron starts with a quick introduction to the pen through bill plot. He states what his is based off of and talks about other impromptu versions on the market. He also quickly tells how he came about creating this effect.

Phase 1: This is the phase in which you slam the point of the pencil straight through the bill. The method is very clever, and nothing like I’ve seen before. The nice thing about this is that you show the pencil going into the bill, no doubt, and with no fishy moves slam it right through. It looks great. You then pull the pen all the way through the bill and show the bill restored. All patter is given to you and there are photos to explain this phase.

Phase 2: This is the phase in which you place a pencil horizontally inside the folds of the dollar bill. You then magically saw the pencil through the sides. When you open up the bill, it’s completely restored. This method is also very clever. They can actually see the pencil inside the bill, unlike other versions. Once again, there is a super large amount of photos and everything is very clear.

Alternate Handling for the First Phase: This is just something quick you can do to make the first penetration easier. It looks the exact same.

Notes: Cameron talks a little here about patter and angles. Some helpful advice.


The Story:

One of my good friends knows how to perform the pencil through bill using the slit method. He’s showed me it before. So once I practiced this and got it up to par, I showed him this. He was blown away. He literally grabbed the bill out of my hands, giving me more than one paper cut, and started examining the bill. He ripped the pencil from my hands, nothing to see. Let’s just say he loved this!


I really like this. I own Misled, but haven’t performed it in the last few years. From now on, I’ll probably just use this. I never liked using the gimmick, as sometimes I borrowed different colored pencils, and this just fits the bill. It’s so practical it’s unbelievable. With this, you will never be stuck with nothing to perform. Just borrow a pencil, borrow a bill, and perform. It couldn’t get much easier. A solid 9.5/10.

‘The Plot Thickens’ Reviewed by Mark Tirone

Posted by Editor on June 8th, 2009

“10 out of 10…buy this and buy this now. You won’t regret it.”

Online Visions.”Hugely impressive…it won’t be long before his reputation is made…
unusual plots, simple methods, great ideas – why aren’t you ordering this book right now?”

Magicseen.”Buy this book! Highly recommended.”

Genii Online.”An astounding collection” Gary Jones,

Magicbunny & The Magic Cafe.”Buy it. He’s got some great ideas.” Tim Trono, creator of Branded.

“[The effects] are all practical and easy to handle…a breath of fresh air” Peter Duffie,

MAGIC.”I rarely get so much inspiration from one book” Andi Gladwin.

“Excellently written…very well-produced…each time [I flick through] I find something, which becomes my new favourite…For £12.49 (less than the price of a one trick DVD) this really is an excellent purchase. Highly recommended!”


Magicians experience a torrent of new methods but just a trickle of new plots. It’s time for a change. And the change starts here!22 fresh plots with everything from bottles to bubbles and photos to false teeth, including:
- Invisible Man: Convince a spectator that they’ve vanished.
- Flaming Voodoo: A spectator stares at a piece of paper he is holding and it bursts into flames.
- Touching Transposition: Forget sight, fool their sense of touch.
- X-ray Coin: A spectator swallows an initialed coin and it appears on an X-ray of their stomach.
- Secret Service Load: Divine the serial number of a bill in the spectator’s wallet without ever going near it.
Plus 17 more impossibilities.

Some you’ll perform every night. Others you’ll save for special occasions. All you’ll enjoy learning as much as performing. The book alone is worth the price of the book!

87 large format pages. 86 photo illustrations. Perfect bound with a glossy cover.
£12.49/$21.53 plus shipping (varies by destination).

Welcome back. I’m here again with my latest review. This one is special. I was connected to a guy named Oliver Meech. Oliver is a VERY talented performer. He sent me a copy of his book and after reading the first few effects in it, I KNEW this was going to be a a great read. And I was correct! The advertisement reads as the audience sees it. There are absolutely NO pipe-dreams in this book. Everything CAN and WILL be performed at one time or another.

So what exactly is “The Plot Thickens”? It is a colaboration of extremely creative ideas from Oliver Meech. There certainly is nothing “new” in here, just ideas basically. Thickened plots. What I mean by that is, Oliver has taken a wide variety of plots from classic texts in magic, and revamped them to work for YOU in today’s world. The tricks are all the same, but in each one there is something new, whether that be a simpler method, to a more visual effect. For example, do you remember that old bird cage trick? The one where you had a bird on one side of a paddle and a cage on the other and when you spin it around fast, it looked as if the bird was in the cage? Well in here, this is done with a fish and a fishbowl. Do you know The Quarter Through Soda can? That is mixed in with the paper balls over the head! Read ahead to find out more! ____________________________________________

LAYOUT: 5/5The layout, in my opinion, was genious. Everything was very modern and east to comprehend. There were introductions, forewards, brief information about the effects in the book, and then the chapters. At the beginning of each chapter, there is a little “optical illusion”, of a sort (which was annoying in the beginning but kind of grows on you), and then the tricks. He gives an introduction to each effect (similar to those of Coinsomnia [see review]) and also a simple effect “description” (which wasn’t really described but of course these effects arn’t too difficult to figure out what is supposed to happen). Then after each effect, Oliver gives credits and additional advice, plus a large blank space which can be used for notes.

QUALITY: 3/5I had higher expectations for the quality of this book. It was published and printed by and normally their products have very fine quality, but this was just disappointing. The spine of the book seemed like it was a little bit frayed, and through opening and closing the book, the spine was getting wrinkled sort of, and that has never happened to me before (except for Jerry Mentzer’s book, but that was just poor choice of paper). Also, the color tone of the book (purple or blue?), shows smudges and it looks terrible. When I first got this and started reading through it, I noticed that it was covered in finger prints and it looks bad. One final note, the printing of the book. The plot might be a little TOO thick. The word “thickens” on the front cover if the book was printed off center so it rides right off the cover of the book and the letters “T” and “S” are only half exposed. I guess I can’t blame Oliver since he has no control over the printing, just letting you know. In each effect, there are photographs. These are VERY good quality! Although black and white, Oliver did the un-thinkable, and filmed in a simple setting. There were no elaborate posters or cages in the background. Just a table and Oliver. They wern’t even fuzzy or hard to understand, like some books I have read. The only problem is that all of the pictures are reversed because Oliver is a left handed magician, so they were flipped to be righty compatable, which doesn’t work out too well for another lefty, like myself.


I made the mistake in one of my previous reviews, to review EVERYTHING. That review took almost 3 weeks. I won’t be doing that here. I’m sorry, but there are 22 creations in this book, plus varriants, so doing so would be completely undesirable. So I have chosen to review each of my favorite effects from this book, not from a personal view, but from an objective point of view so YOU, the reader, gets to know exactly what is good about each effect.


STUFF WITH CARDS: 4/5This might be the only time you hear me rave about cards. I typically only perform a few card tricks, but enough about me. In this chapter, the effects are visual (or CAN be visual) and are all practical for the real world. One of the better effects here is the Invisible Man, which can be performed on stage or close-up without worry. But there are other ones that are visual stunners, such as Cardboard Birthday Cake, where a signed playing card with a birthday cake and a candle is shaken and the candle either visually extinguishes, or invisibly, depending on your style. Then the psychological killers, being Not Seeing The Wood For The Trees, an effect where a grid of cards is layed out, and failing to find the selected card, the remaining cards reveal a selected card.

INVISIBLE MAN: 5/5Is my absolute favorite effects from here. This is one of those effects that Gary Norsigian talks about on his DVD set, Tricks That Will Get You Paid (see review), where you can take it from close up, and with little change, make it play for a grand audience or 400. What happens is an audience member is braught up and selects a card, and two stickers are used to make the assistant believe he is invisible and annother assistant can see through the person and read the card against his chest. The method is one that has been around for a long time, yet widely over-looked until jsut recently, yet even THEN it was a little over looked! After reading this one, it will be ver clear how powerfull it could be. The best part is, the playing card doesn’t even need to be read. If you did this on a large stage with just normal playing cards, sure the card can’t be read by the people in the back, if the front row audience can see it and can REACT to it, then people will understand that the assistant has seen through the other assistant’s body and read the card. Even just the invisible assistant needs to react for everybody else to know that the card that was revealed is the one he held. And for the record, the assistant you choose to be turned “invisible”, might not be too good if it is a woman.

NOT SEEING THE WOOD FOR THE TREES: 4/5This is one of the other psycholigical killers presented in this book. What is awesome about it is, it takes a classic plot that isn’t really performed anymore, and made it MUCH better. That is the old dealing down cards trick. The kind of trick that makes people go, “yea, I know this one, uncle Roofus did it for me”. But he DIDN’T. Sure cards are delt down after one is chosen, but after eliminating a few to get to the chosen card, the audience notices that the remaining cards form the shape of their card, AND in the same color! The bad part about this one is that dealing down cards can be a hassle for you. If you work in a restaurant where the table top might be a little small, the cards might not fit and you will have to move to another effect. Also, if you do outdoor walkaround engagements, the wind will blow your cards away and then you are left revealing the sdfsdf of sdfsdf. But this one is certainly GREAT for parties when you are put on the spot.

STUFF WITH COINS: 4/5 Phew, coins! I am so glad to see coins in here. It takes a lot to get coin guys thinking, but this chaper actually got me thinking and thinking hard! While only a few in here actually made me excited to perform, they all have something special. For example, like we mentioned earlier. Oliver does a Paper Balls Over The head type effect, and leads into A Coin In Soda Can effect. Possibly the most insane coin to impossibly location effects are in this chapter. One of them makes the coin go into an xray of your body, the other into a soda can, and the last one goes to a candy bar in a vending machine that you use the signed coin to buy. I won’t be reviewing them all, but they all merit some consideration.

FISH BOWL COIN ILLUSION: 5/5 : This one is REALLY cool! Remember that old bird cage illusion? The one where there was a picture of a bird and a cage on different sides of a paddle and you could make it look like the bird was in the cage when twisted rapidly? Well this is pretty much that, but with a borrowed coin and a fish bowl is drawn on one side and a fish is drawn on the other. The coin is of course spun on the table and you get this really nice image of a fish being in the bowl when looked at the coin. When the coin stops spinning, ther can actually see that the fish is inside the circle representing a bowl and the coin could be kept. While this effect won’t fool ever magician, it can be quite stunning to a lay audience. They KNOW the fish isn’t really in the bowl and for somebody just seeing this for the first time, it will be very amusing to them. But when they discover that the fish is inside the bowl that was apparently a joke, it will generate a very nice reaction.

X-RAY COIN:3/5: This was a weird one. Let me tell ya’. Firstly, this is probably one of the few, if not ONLY, coin effect that you can do on stage with a borrowed coin. Essentially, the spectator’s initials are written on their coin, THEY swallow their own coin, an x-ray image is brough up on stage of them, and on the x-ray appears their own borrowed coin WITH the initials! Of course you can make this more goory if you wish by swallowing it yourself and giving it a lot of drama. There IS quite an extensive setup but in time you will get good and fast at it. Also, you can’t really re-use the props but it really isn’t much of an issue at all. It will all be worth it in the end. I think you’re going to like this one.

STUFF WITH THE MIND:3/5I really didn’t much care for this chapter. There were a few little peices that I enjoyed, but for the most part, a lot of it was quite impractical for me. A lot of gimmicks involved. These ARE pretty good for stage/parlor/stand up, but if you are working close up, not exactly the best. One plus side to many of these effects is, if you don’t want to come off as an extreme mentalist (such as Darren Brown, Luke Jermay etc.), these effects have more of a magic aspect to them so I’m sure some of you will get a good look at these. Just not exactly “Up there” for me.

BUBBLE IMAGE:4/5This is one of those effects that can be done quite efficiantly on stage and could be seen. What happens is basically the spectator looks into one of many bubbles (yes, bubbles, as in children’s bubbles, made out of soap…) dancing around on stage and sees a number in one of them, almost like a crystal ball. A prediction you had from the start is brought out and on the piece of paper reads the number they saw in the bubble. It is a nice piece by means of theatrical magic. It could be played as serious, half serious, comedy, magic, whatever you want it to be really. This DOES use a prop that you might have if you are a magician, but I’m sure the mentalists will know exactly what this is when they hear it and most likely have one.

I SPY:5/5This one I actually wrote into my own show. It is by no stretch of imagination a fully original effect and the concept used here is old as the hills, but it is pretty good. It is pretty much a book test in it’s simplest form. A post-it note sticker is placed on the cover of a book and the audience member writes something down on it. That could be a page number, chapter title, work, number etc. Whatever. You are able to reveal it with pretty much no effort on your part at all. Again, how awesome is it that you could do this anywhere anytime if there is a book, paper, and a pen at your disposal, AND can play for small audiences in walkaround for 5 people or in an auditorium for 150 people.Again, the concept is old, but you can have a lot of fun with this one.

AND STUFF WITH, WELL, STUFF:2/5Well, at least I got SOMETHING out of this chapter lol. DEFINETLY not the best stuff nor the most practical. Some of these have some pretty big setups and don’t even play too well, but I DID get 2 really nice effects out of it so that deserves the 2 credits lol. Let me say that if you like to do anytime anywhere or seemingly impromtu effects with borrowed objects, don’t get this book because of this one.

ON WITH HIS HEAD!:5/5I liked this one. I’m pretty sure you will like it as well. You can only do this in close up situations due to the method and without a method change, but it looks really nice. It is something that a lot of us can relate too, our heads getting cut off in photos. Don’t you hate that? Well no worries to the cool guy in the group, not to be confused with the guy in the group nobody ^&*$% likes *cough* Karen, simply taps the stack of photographs on the table and the distorted photograph gets bumped down in the picture, restoring it to normal. C’mon, how cool does it get? It actually reminds me of one of Josjua Jay’s effects in his book, “MAGIC: The Complete Course” (See review) where the magician poses with his dog and the dog vanishes right from all the pictures. Well this one is similar, the method isn’t as straight forward as Josh’s, but no need to take away a point for that. Pretty much all you need is a camera and a stack of photographs, having one with the chopped off head and a rubberband to put over them all. It packs small, plays big (for a few people in the group).

SECRET SERVICE LOAD: 3/5This is a REALLY strong effect if you play it right (and it doesn’t get screwed up half way though), but the only problem is that it requires a LOT of pre-performance work and will be a pain to do. You need to follow people, see who orders from which register, get the timing right, memorize a serial number etc. And it can’t really be done in a professional setting unless you work in a restaurant or bar and can have the bartender or waitress help you out. It’s such an extensive setup just to read a serial number from a bill in somebodies wallet that you never touched. ALso, if you have a show, you could have somebody at the box office help you. But it is a cool effect.


OVERALL:4/5In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book. It was a very nice and refreshing read. If you like magic tricks or books, then this is a really nice read for you. The descriptions are clearly very well thought out as are the effects described here in this book. I will always be refering back to this book and hopefully learning something new each time I do. Oliver did the un-thinkable here and took old plots and revamped them to play for professional performers in the 21st Century. Enjoy!

-Mark Tirone