Magic Products Review

DICE, DICE BABY WITH JOHN CAREY

Written by John Teo

John Carey, who is well known as a specilist with playing cards, now presents 10 effects with coloured dice, in this project called “Dice, Dice Baby with John Carey”.

You receive 10 translucent dice: 6 are differently coloured, I extra red dice, and 3 clear (no colour) dice, together with a nice black velvet carrying bag. You are also given a link to download a video instruction.

As with John Carey’s card tricks, all these 10 dice effects are all presented in a straight forward manner; they are visual and have great impact on the audience.

Here is a brief description of the 10 effects:

1. Dice Wave – an experiment where a spectator imagines 3 different colours out of 4 differently coloured dice to fade away. This becomes a reality when the prediction bag is shown to contain 3 clear dice and one dice of the remaining colour. A dice variation of Max Maven’s “B’Wave”.

2. Hot Roddy – a dice version of “Hot Rod” where one of 6 dice placed in a row is correctly predicted.

3. Translocation Dice – a “dice across” effect from hand to hand using 1 red dice and 3 clear dice, and with an unexpected ending.

4. Perfect Six – an interesting mental effect with 6 differently coloured dice where the spectator makes all the choices and yet the performer can predict who gets which dice at the end.

5. Evoque Dice – the spectator makes all the choices regarding 6 different coloured dice and the performer has predicted the outcome in advance.

6. Homing Dice – like the “Homing Card”, a red dice placed away keeps returning to the hand.

7. Covert Prediction – a “card at any number” effect using a deck of cards and the total shown on 3 dice.

8. Clearly Wild – a take on David Roth’s “Wild Coins” where 3 clear dice change to red colour one at a time.

9. Hummeresqe – through a thorough process of selection, one of 6 dice is chosen, and this matches the performer’s prediction. It utilises the “Hummer Mental Monte” as well as Max Maven’s “Kurotsuke” principles.

10.Gadabout Dice – a “Two In The Hand, One In The Pocket” effect done with 3 different coloured dice.

Altogether, there are 6 mental effects. John discusses at great length on the proper choices of words to use in “Equivoque” and other forces.

Of the 4 non-mental effects, John teaches very well how to execute the various moves with dice. They are not difficult to do.

John refers often to the “Ramsey’s Subtlety”.

You get 10 effects using beautiful translucent coloured dice that are not difficult to perform. If you cannot get at least 2 or 3 that you can include in your performing repertoire, magic should not be your hobby. When you do, this product will be worth many times the small investment made in it.

(9/10 star rating)

FLOAT by SansMinds Creative Lab

Written by John Teo

A levitation effect never fails to cause a sense of great wonderment to an audience.

Float is a levitation effect that you can carry in your pocket.

The performer takes out and displays his gentleman’s wallet. He opens the wallet to disclose a credit card inside. With a magical gesture, the credit card mysteriously floats upwards from the wallet. While the audience is still recovering from its stunned state, the performer closes his wallet and takes out the credit card and hands it for examination.

That is the effect of Float.

You receive a well-produced instructional DVD and a gimmick. The gimmick fits inside most gentleman’s bi-fold wallet, but it must be black because the gimmick is in black colour. It is a simple but cleverly conceived gimmick. It works on the black-art principle in conjunction with the wallet.

Unlike other products from SansMinds, you do not need to construct any other item. Fixing the gimmick in your wallet requires only a moment’s work, and all you need is double-sided tape.

Once your wallet is set up, you can carry it and perform the effect at any time and any place.

You can float any object inside the wallet, such as a credit card, a playing card or a couple of folded bills. The levitation does create a sense of wonderment for the audience. There is a small performing angle concern to take care of, but nothing serious. You perform the levitation way below the eye level of the audience.

Unfortunately, the wallet cannot be examined. This is a weak point. After the audience examines the floated object, the next thing they want to check out is the wallet. When asked, you will have to find a reason for not handing out the wallet for examination.

Performing Float is as easy as opening the wallet and making a little unnoticed movement with the wallet. Resetting is also equally easy. Simply place the object properly back inside the wallet and close it. You are ready for the next performance.

(6/10 star rating)

LEMONWAND

Written by John Teo

Jeremy Pei’s “LemonWand” is a small wand with a slice of yellow lemon on one of its tips.

The wand is small, and black with golden tips.  It measures only about 4.5 inches long and 3/8 of an inch in diameter.  The lemon slice on top of one of its tips is about 1.25 inches in diameter and is bright yellow in colour.

So, what can you do with this wand?

You can use it as a magician’s wand to “make” things happen magically, of course.  The wand is small, so it can be kept in your pocket until you wish to bring it.  When it comes out of your pocket, it immediately attracts attention because it is unusual to see a wand with a lemon slice attached to one end of it.

You need to provide a rationale for this strange looking wand.  Here is one example.  “Whenever I need money, I use an aid that every magician possesses – do you know that is that?”  Bring out the wand from your pocket with the non lemon tip showing, as you continue … “Yes! A magic wand, but did I say ‘aid’?  My favourite is lemonade!”  Your audience will smile as they see the LemonWand fully emerges from your pocket.

Here is another example.  “What is the most popular aid that magicians use whenever they want to make something magically happen?”  Most people will know that it is a magic wand – if not, prompt them to come to this answer.  “What people don’t know is that you need to say a magic word when using the magic wand.  Do you know the magic word?”  No matter what answers they give, say that it is “Lemon!  Lemon!”  (Somehow, repeating a word makes it sound more magical!)  Bring out the LemonWand from your pocket.  “My magic wand – specially made so that you won’t forget the magic word!”  From here onwards, whever you use the wand, get the audience to shout the magic words “Lemon!  Lemon!”  You will have a lot of fun with this LemonWand. 

With the LemonWand, show that it is the same on both sides.  Make a magical gesture and say the magic words and a coin appears stuck to one side of the lemon slice.  Pour the coin onto your hand and put the coin into your trouser pocket.  Show the now empty LemonWand and produce another coin.  Again take this coin off the wand and put the coin into your trouser.  Do this many times.  Finally, place your hand into the pocket and take out a $5 or $10 note – you have produced enough coins from the wand to make a total sum of $5 or $10.  As an alternative finish, bring out an actual lemon instead!  “The coins are an illusion – my LemonWand produces a lemon, of course!”

You receive the cute looking LemonWand and a link to a video tutorial where Jeremy Pei himself teaches you the simple move to use with the LemonWand.  Jeremy then gives you his commercial routine that he performs using this LemonWand.

Once you understand the handling for this LemonWand, all sorts of ideas for using this wand will come to you.  You may want to experiment with erasable black marker and use it to draw the digit “8” on one side of the lemon, making it “lemonade”!  Suddenly, the other side also has the 8 on the lemon  Draw one more 8, then both sides have the two 8s.  Erase one 8 away, it returns to both sides.  Finally all four 8s vanish from the lemon.  The four 8s than re-appear on the back of your left palm or on the palm of your right hand.

The LemonWand is a novelty magic wand.  It is suitable not only for close-up, but also for parlour, performances.  It can be used for performing close-up to children. 

The audience will react to it in a positive way when it is first brought out.  You can use the wand each time when you want to “cause” something magical to happen in your performance.  It is invaluable especially to magicians incorporating comedy in their acts.

Recommended!

THE LUCKY COIN by Luca Volpe & Paul McCaig

Written by John Teo

“The Lucky Coin” is based on a classic trick/gag about locating the chosen card with a coin.  Luca Volpe and Paul McCaig have improved upon it in the following ways:

  • The coin used is not an ordinary coin, but a specially minted “lucky” coin with a celtic design, so that it creates a mystery to the audience the moment the coin is introduced;
  • The image of the chosen card is embossed on the coin, instead of the old method of sticking a picture of a miniature card underneath the coin. Moreover, the embossed image is that of a full card, not merely the abbreviation of “three of heart” comprising a 3 and the symbol of the heart.  This somehow makes the revelation on the coin more powerful;
  • Another coin is included with the word “BELIEVE” embossed on the back of it, to be used in another effect.
  • A third coin is also provided. This one has nothing inscribed underneath it.  This can be used to switch for either the card or the word coin so that the revelation will seem even more magical.

A full routine looks like this.  A specially minted coin is introduced to a spectator as a “lucky” coin.  It has a special celtic design on one side and nothing on the other.  It is fully examined by a spectator. 

A card is selected by a spectator and shuffled back into the deck.  The deck is spread face downwards on the table and the spectator places the “lucky” coin anywhere on the spread.  The 3 or 4 cards covered by the coin are isolated from the spread.  The spectator further decides which of these cards to rest the coin on.  The performer says that underneath the coin will be the spectator’s selected card.  The other cards are turned over to show that none of them is the selected card.  But when the card underneath the coin is turned over, it too, is not the chosen card.  The performer turns over the coin to show that, what he meant was, the identity of the card is now found inscribed on the coin!  The spectator had examined it previously and there was nothing engraved underneath the coin.

The coin is then placed onto a spectator’s palm, and she closes her fingers over it, hiding the coin inside her fist.  She is asked to think about something that she desires to achieve in her lifetime, and to close her eyes.  As she concentrates on the coin held in her closed fist, she can feel that the coin is becoming warmer.  When she opens her eyes and takes the coin from her fist, the word “BELIEVE” is now embossed underneath the coin – the original image of her selected card is no longer there.  The coin tells her that her desire can be achieved if she believes!  What a motivational message for her.

You receive the 3 coins that come an antique finish look.  They are specially minted in lead-free pewter.  This means the coins will not tarnish, rust or corrode over time. 

You also receive a small velvet pounch to carry the coin(s) in.  You have to supply your own deck of cards.  You are provided with an online link to a well-produced instructional video.  

In the video, Luca discusses the various possibilities:

  • Perform the full 3-phase routine, or only one or two of the routines for a shorter act;
  • An easier way of using the coin is not to show that the back of the coin is empty and has no impression at the beginning;
  • Using a top change, the card beneath the coin can be magically transformed into the correct chosen card – this gives a double whammy to the card effect.

The coins look professional and mysterious, the effect has comedy as well as an emptional hook (with the revelation of “BELIEVE”), your performance can be made short or longer, and “Lucky Coin” is fairly easy to do.  This product is a good investment.  (9/10 star rating)

ANIMAL TAROT by The Other Brothers

Written by John Teo

This is a novel prediction effect that, even if back-tracked, it is difficult to comprehend the method used.

In effect, a stack of cards is shown to have names of different animals printed on each of them. 

A spectator is asked to call out any number between 1 and 10.  The cards are dealt out and counted one at a time to this number.  As the cards are dealt out, everyone can see that they are names of different animals.

The card stopped at is considered as the chosen card.  Let us assume that a spectator called out “7”, and the card stopped at, at this number, is “Rat”.  Had “6” or “8” been called instead of “7”, the cards at the sixth and eighth positions are shown to be of different animals.

The remainder of the cards are arranged to form a rectangle.  When their backs are turned over, they form a large mosaic of a picture of a “rat”!  The revelation is both unexpected and colourful.

You receive the stack of nicely printed cards and a link to an online 20 minutes video instructions.  In the video, the 2 brothers take turns to perform and explain the effect.

The spectator really has a free choice of any number between “1” and “10”.  This is an application of an old force which is seldom used.  If you consider the possibilities of the spectator freely naming any one of the 8 possible numbers between “1” and “10”, you can tell that the force is quite effective.  The use of this force usually requires some audience management.  The Other Brothers have come out with a clever adaptation such that the force requires almost no memory work and is quite consistent throughout.

There is another clever principle at play that has to do with the design of the cards.

As long as you follow the instructions on the use of the force by The Other Brothers, the effect is almost self-working and there is no performing angles to worry about.  Resetting, although it is not instantaneous, is quite fast.

As mentioned earlier, the animal cards bring novelty to a mental effect and the large revelation of the selection is both surprising and colourful.  (9/10 star rating)

SURVIVAL KIT by SansMinds Creative Lab

Written by John Teo

Survival Kit refers to the situation where you are caught without your magic props and are asked to perform magic and there are no magic shops available to you.  This does not refer to impromptu magic where no props are used.  This refers to magic that uses prepared props where you can prepare them at a moments’ notice and within a very short time using ordinary objects and items from the local dollar stores. 

You receive a well produced DVD that teaches you how to contruct and perform 5 effects.  They are:

  1. Vanishing Bottle – a bottle is placed inside an empty paper bag. Performer turns the paper bag upside down and claims that the bottle has vanished since nothing comes out of the overturned bag.  Just when the audience begins to smile, the performer crumples the paper bag into a small ball and tosses it away!  You are taught how to contruct the vanishing bottle.
  2. Morphing Fork – 2 forks are shown. One is given to a spectator.  With the other fork, the performer twists and forms it into a mangled metal art piece with his bare hands.  It is then given to the spectator as a souvenir. 
  3. Glass Bottle Into iPad – a glass bottle is wrapped with a newspaper – the top part of the bottle is still visible. The performer pushes the wrapped bottle into his ipad.  The crumpled up newspaper is thrown away and an image of the bottle is seen in the ipad.  You are taught how to make the gimmick for the vanishing glass bottle.
  4. Liquid Vanish – you are taught how to gimmick a styrofoam cup so that when water is poured into the cup and it is turned upside down, no water comes out of it. This is the alternative to using the popular powder that is available at a magic shop.  An entertaining comical routine involving a spectator is discussed in the DVD.
  5. Production Out Of Empty Paper Bag – a paper bag can be shown to be empty on the inside, yet it will pour out a good quantity of sweets. It is shown to be empty inside again and more sweets are poured out of the bag.  A deck of cards can also be produced from the empty bag.  You are taught how to make this production paper bag.

As usual, Herman from SansMinds does an excellent job in explaining how to contruct the props and how to perform each of the 5 effects.  All of the props can be constructed within 10 minutes – and maximum at 20 minutes if you are considered to have 2 left thumbs.

The effects are practical and easy to do.  It pays to learn them well, for it is not unlikely that you will be caught in a situation where you need to survive without your magic props at hand.  (8/10 star rating)