Magic Products Review

INSTANT T by Les French Twins

Written by John Teo

As its name suggests, Instant T is an instantaneous change of a playing card into a sachet of instant tea, complete with a string and the square paper label.  It is also a card to impossible location.  And where is the impossible location?  Inside a sealed sachet of tea – one has to tear the sachet open in order to find the chosen card nicely folded into quarters, and attached to the string with the square label.


This is how the basic routine looks like.  A card is selected and then lost into the deck.  The performer brings out his prediction card, but it is of the wrong back colour.  Feeling rather disappointed, he changes it instantly into a sachet of instant tea.  He then proceeds to tear the paper sachet.  Inside it is the chosen card neatly folded into quarters and attached to a string connected to its small square label.


You receive the following:
• A specially gimmicked paper tea sachet
• 50 replacement paper sachets
• 50 tea labels, each complete with a string
• A very nice yellow colour tea box which is self-locking
• A link to a video instructions which is more than 60 minutes long
The transformation of a playing card into the sachet of tea is indeed very visual.  The performer handles the playing card freely, throwing it into the air and catching it with his hand.  It does not appear to be prepared in any way.  Yet, instantly, it changes into a sachet of tea and the performer is now holding the small square label complete with a string, and at the other of which is a paper tea sachet.  This will catch any audience unaware.  The transformed sachet of tea can be freely shown all around.


This gimmicked sachet is sturdily made and should be able to last through many performances.  Resetting the gimmick for the next performance is also very fast – it is a matter of a couple of seconds.


The instructional videos are quite easy to follow, despite the fact that The French Twins speak with limited knowledge of the English language.  They offer several variations in handling as well as in presentation.


The chosen card can even be signed, or torn up into pieces and later one of its torn pieces that was retained matches with the restored card found inside the tea sachet.  In order to do the signed card routine, you need to learn the Mercury card fold.  This and other card sleights such as copping a card and different card forces, are well taught by the French Twins.


There is a nice routine where one spectator selects a country, say, England, and another spectator selects USA.  A playing card transforms into a tea sachet, tea being the favourite drink of the English people.  Inside the tea sachet is the crown of a Coke bottle, Coke signifies the favourite drink of the American people.


You are also taught in the video how to load small items, such as a finger ring, into the tea sachet.


Instant T can be performed close-up, in a cabaret or stage setting.  There is a mental effect where the performer is able to predict onto a spectator’s chosen card who this spectator is having tea with, and also the venue, time and date she is having tea with this person.


The transformation of the playing card to a tea sachet cannot be performed surrounded.  Some form of audience management is also required to present Instant T.  However, the visual change of a playing card to a tea sachet itself is guaranteed to wow any audience.  (8/10 star rating).

NU FLASH by Zamm Wong & Bond Lee

Written by Bernard Sim

Nu Flash is a very visual bill to playing card which can be used to change a bill to a single playing card, a name card, an envelope, a pile of cards or even a full deck.


There are many visual card changes around.  Most of them will just require you to throw the gimmick card into the air for the change to occur.  For Nu Flash, you’d need to do a few moves before the bill can be changed.  If you are familiar with those that exist in the market, Nu Flash’s method is different, you’d need some practice to get it to be smooth.


Nu Flash comes with an instructional DVD and a gimmick which has been prepared.   All you need to do is to add your own bill.  The DVD starts with teaching you how to prepare the gimmick and then teaches you several other ways to use the gimmick.   There is also a non-bill version which seems to be like an after-thought thrown in as a filler.  You’d have to take note that polymer bills will not work here.


The DVD has Zamm Wong teaching it accompanied by Bond Lee asking questions to aid in the learning process.  I find it very difficult to listen to what they were saying as the background music were at the same volume as their conversation.  I like the visual change of this effect but I find that there must be a reason to justify the change from a bill to a card.  If you’d use it just to change from a bill to a card and end there, I think that will not work, however, if it’s part of a longer routine, that’s fine.


Rating:  6.5/10  At least they made an effort to provide a pre-made gimmick, unlike some who just throw in a DVD and sell.

CARTOON VISIBLE PAINTING

Written by John Teo

“Frozen” was a computer-animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. It was released in 2013 and it won several awards for being the best animated feature film. It was awarded Best Original Song for “Let It Go”. It quickly became one of the most popular computer-animated movies for children.
To my knowledge, there was no magical effect directly related to the Frozen movie, until Hitmitsu Magic came out with “Cartoon Visible Painting”. This one should be a hit for children.
In effect, the back of a square folder is shown to contain a matrix of 16 pictures feauring the 4 main charcters of Frozen. They are Queen Elsa, the snowman Olaf, Princess Anna, and Kristoff. The 16 pictures appear to be in no particular arrangement.
A child is ask to freely name any number from 1 to 16. The chosen number is counted around the matrix and it ends on the picture of Olaf the snowman. Olaf is considered as the chosen character.
The board is turned around to reveal the outline of Queen Elsa instead. This appears to be the wrong prediction. The performer insists that this is the correct prediction.
This picture is then withdrawn from the square folder. It suddenly becomes fully coloured and everyone can now see that it is Olaf the snowman donning Elsa’s dress! The predicted character is correct after all!
As a climax, the folder is turned around to show its back. It has the matrix of 16 pictures, but they are all the pictures of Olaf! The previous pictures of Queen Elsa, Princess Anna and Kristoff have disappeared!
You receive the complete props, plus a QR code to view a short performance of the effect in the Mandarin language. The props are well-made of sturdy cardboard and are nicely designed. You need to take a marker pen and draw the outline of Queen Elsa yourself. Why this outline is not already drawn in when the props are supplied is anybody’s guess.
I would personally like to perform it in another way. I have studied the matrix of the 16 pictures on the back of the folder, and have noticed that Queen Elsa can also be forced using the method of forcing Olaf, except you have to start counting from another side of the folder. A little study of the matrix will enable you to quickly understand this.
Force Queen Elsa, and turn around the folder to show the outline of Queen Elsa as your prediction. Go into your colouring routine for any classic visible painting. Pull out the picture to show a fully coloured picture of Queen Elsa. It is here that the audience realises it is actually Olaf in Queen Elsa’s dressing.
You insist that the child originally picked Olaf, not Queen Elsa. When you have disagreements, turn around the folder to expose the matric of the 16 all Olaf pictures! How could anyone pick some other character originally?
In this effect, you have all the fun of visible painting, plus a sucker prediction!
Highly recommended!

FLASH FORWARD by Jason Palter

Written by John Teo

One of the greatest gimmicked decks to be invented is Burling Hull’s Svengali Deck. Unfortunately, it is readily available in shopping malls and most magicians shun its use. This is quite unfortunate because a well-crafted routine using the Svengali Deck can effectively disguise the methodology and truly wow the audience.

Jason Palter has come out with a Svengali Deck using flash cards that are used to teach young children in kindergartens and schools. These cards consist of simple pictures and words. Somehow, by not using playing cards, the Svengali principle is not suspect, even for those in the know.

Such cards are, of course, ideal for performing for children. Because of the pictures, it is also suitable for use in mentalism effects with adults. The use of children’s flash cards makes the prop look like an everyday object.

You receive 2 decks of flash cards. One is the Svengali Deck, and the other is an ordinary deck for you to switch out for. It also comes with 4 pages of well-written instructions. Jason adequately explains the handling of the Svengali Deck and describes an interesting kids routine.

Creative Magic also produces a similar type of Svengali flash cards. However, they are the same size as the poker playing cards. Flash Forward uses the actual-sized children’s flash cards. These cards are larger and therefore more showy, however, they handle quite well as a Svengali deck. The thickness of the cards is just right and this also makes them suitable for use as a Svengali deck.

The possibilities of effects that you can churn out using the Svengali principle are only limited by your imagination. If you wish to incorporate a card effect in your children shows, Flash Forward is a good investment. (9/10 stars rating.)

I.D.D. by Christopher Rawlins

Written by John Teo

Drawing duplication usually depends on one of the following methods:
• Secretly peeking the object drawn
• Forcing the object to be drawn
• Pre-show work to obtain the object to be drawn
Christopher Rawlins has created a method that does not depend on any of the 3 methods mentioned. This would make drawing duplication look like real magic.
It does! Simply watch the performance in the trailer.
In effect, a spectator is asked to draw a simple, yet definite object – it can really be any object at all. She draws on a blank piece of business-card provided by the performer. She then folds the card into quarters, hiding the drawing inside. There is absolutely no way the performer can see what has been drawn on the card. The performer takes a blank business-card himself and draws on it. It is then buried in the middle of a stack of blank business-cards. The stack is held for safekeeping by the spectator. The performer unfolds the spectator’s card and sees the object drawn. Without any funny moves, the stack of business cards is taken from the spectator and spread. Somewhere in the center of the stack is a card drawn by the performer earlier. It has a close resemblance to the drawing made by the spectator!
Obviously, if there are no restrictions at all to the object to be drawn, then there must be outs and there cannot be a hundred percent direct hit every-time. Surely, the method itself cannot be simple and must require heavy memorization. This last statement is not correct while the first statement is true.
Chris Rawlins has come out with an interesting method which does not require you to memorise anything, and it is easy to perform. The interesting thing about Chris’ method is that it grows on your performances. Every time you perform I.D.D., you get to refine and customize your own gimmick/method.
What you receive is a DVD, with no props.
In the DVD, Chris describes the props you need. You require a stack of blank business-cards, and Chris will tell you how to prepare the cards. You also need marker-pens and how to prepare one of them. Once prepared, the props can be reused in every performance. There will be no need to construct new props each time you perform I.D.D., unless you refine and customize your method.
Included in the DVD is a pdf file giving you a 26-page written instructions of I.D.D. Here Chris goes into more details in preparing and performing the effect.
Not included in the pdf instructions (but provided in the DVD) is a discussion by Luke Jermay on his thoughts of performing I.D.D. By using index-cards instead of business-cards, the effect can be performed on stage, involving about 10 spectators. Luke also provides a different premise for performing I.D.D. Instead of drawing duplication, it can be presented as a psychic demonstration.
Many performers will shy away from effects that end up near-miss, for they require convincing presentations to pull it through. I.D.D. is recommended, even for these performers, because:
• The effect is ultra-clean. Those near-misses are covered very well by the clever method developed by Chris. At times, the duplication can be strikingly close to the original drawing. You can increase the possibility of this happening by refining the method yourself.
• Easy to perform – no memorizing, and no new props to prepare for each performance.
• Affordable – $10 is a very small investment for an important work that took Chris years to develop. (9/10 star rating.)

THE TOUCH by Robbie Moreland

Written by John Teo

“The Touch” is a DVD that contains 3 of Robbie Moreland’s close-up routines taken from his professional performances. Two of them are card effects while the other is a coin routine.
Robbie is an excellent magician. He is elegant in his performance as well as his patter. His routines are very well structured and scripted to achieve the maximum effect on his audience.
The DVD is very well-produced. It has excellent sound and video qualities, and an easy-to-manoeuvre menu. Each routine starts with a performance, followed by the explanation.
In his explanation, Robbie goes into great detail covering the concepts, as well as the moves required to work the routines. He also recommends and shows various books and resources, where you can reference those moves and concepts. The DVD runs for a total of 2 hours and 16 minutes.
Here are the descriptions of the 3 effects in the DVD, and what you get out of them:
Vibes
A spectator determines a number and selects a card. The card is lost in the deck. As the spectator reveals the number, the deck visibly shrinks into a packet containing the named number of cards! The chosen card is found as the last card in the packet.
Robbie mentions that there is “the moment” in any routine. “The moment” for Vibes is when the entire deck visually shrinks into a packet containing the named number of cards.
There are no difficult moves with this effect, but the performer needs to influence the audience’s choices. Robbie discusses audience management and describes how to perform the inflated deck illusion.
Bullet Proof
This is a ‘coins through table’ effect, beautifully-routined by Robbie. Three coins are covered by an overturned glass on the table. The first and second coins go through the table, one at a time. Just when the audience expects the last coin to penetrate, the entire glass goes through the table instead.
Robbie discusses the correct types of glass and napkins to use, coin-shells and how to maintain them, and the psychology behind the routine.

The Burst
This is a visual piece of card magic and is a real feast for the eyes. There is no “please take-a-card” effect here.
A red four suddenly pops up from the middle of the deck. This card then visually changes into 2 red two’s. The 2 red two’s are placed into the center of the deck when they explode into the 4 Aces. The 4 Aces than completely vanish into the deck, only to reappear together again. Once again, they are lost in the deck and found face up together in the middle of the deck.
This is the most demanding routine in the DVD, in terms of the necessary skills involved in handling the cards.
You need to know the Pinky Count and Pull-down, J K Hartman’s Pop-Up Move, Richard Kaufman’s Radical Change, Baltazar Fuentes’ Colour Change, the S-Fan and Circular-Fan, Steve Beam’s Flop Change, and the Burst Production. All of these are adequately explained and demonstrated by Robbie.
Many people will want to purchase this DVD just to learn this “The Burst” routine. The other 2 routines can be considered as bonuses. In “The Burst” effect, you get to learn several interesting card manoeuvres that you can use in your own card magic. In the other 2 effects, you get to learn how Robbie scripts and structures them into full-fledged, meaningful, and effective routines. (8/10 star rating.)