Magic Products Review

Sugar High by Chris Randall – DVD

Written by Bernard Sim

There are a few variations of this effect taught in the DVD. There is the sleight of hand method and the non-sleight of hand method. In both methods, you will need to prepare the sugar packets. The items needed are easily available. In order to do the non-sleight of hand method, you will need to prepare the props and the preparation will take some time, it can be a little messy too. My preference is the sleight of hand method as it looks better and is cleaner in a way. The color changing crayon is not very visible as the sleeve of the crayon is not contrasting enough to make people notice the change. I only saw the change the second time I watch that segment. This can probably be rectified by changing the brand of the crayon.

The colored “sugar” that Chris Randall reckons can’t be consumed but he also mentioned about using other colored consumable sugar which is a lot more expensive. For such a short effect, Chris Randall goes into great details explaining the working of this effect. For me, I find the explanation a bit long winded, but that’s just me, others may prefer a more detailed explanation.

If you work in a restaurant that provides crayons for kids, this may be an effect that is suitable for you. But the time taken to prepare this effect will put some people off. It’s an interesting effect but it is not hard hitting. Rating 2/5.

The Forrest/Francis Project Vol. 1 and Vol 2 by Cameron Francis and David Forrest

Written by Bernard Sim

 

The Forrest/Francis Project Vol. 1 by Cameron Francis and David Forrest

I spent more than 5 minutes navigating the DVD menu just to make it “play all”. To be fair, I was using my laptop to play this DVD, this could be the problem caused by my software, nothing to do with the contents, I’m just whiningJ.

Anyway, let’s start with the review; Forrest and Francis are both very creative magicians. I have always admired Forrest’s work and they are very clever.

Hadron Collider is a very unique “find a card trick” effect using a black face card with 2 holes. You will need to construct the gimmick and you will find the time used to construct the gimmick well spent.

FF Collectors – As the name suggest, this routine is based on the collectors plot. However, there are some moves which I feel that are illogical such as turning a pack of cards face up onto the deck and then removing the face up card away. But I guess you can get away with such moves using patters.

The 3 card Trick – This is a good one. Its combines a sort of “6 card repeat” effect with a “find a card trick” type of effect. Effective and entertaining.

Between – Do this and you will have an excuse to give away your business card. A selected signed card is lost and then appears folded in quarters in between 2 business cards which has predictions written on it. If you intend to this in your gig or perform this regularly, you will need to have plenty of the “selected” cards on standby as each performance will destroy the selected card.

Invisible Poker – Based on Jenning’s plot and has a kicker ending. This is going to take some work to pull it off.

Trick Question – An interesting plot whereby the spectator’s chosen cards changed to other cards.

Coin Thru hand – The only non-card effect in this DVD. You will need a special coin which you can make on your own in order to perform this. The effect is ok but the palm is seen to be in a awkward position when showing the coins getting stuck in the hand.

5 Card Monte – A no palm card to pocket effect disguised as a Monte routine. A very clever method which is easy to do too.

Limelight – The magicians attempt to find the selected card by riffling down the edge of the deck, a card will then get jogged out, this card will then help the magician find the card and the routine ends with the appearance of the 4 aces. This uses a very simple gimmick which you can make in less than 10 seconds.

Impossible Sandwich – A very easy to do sandwich effect. After the card is lost into the deck, the spectator does all the work. This is my favorite effect in volume 1.

The Forrest/Francis Project Vol. 2 by Cameron Francis and David Forrest

Volume 2’s menu seems to be easier to navigate. Anyway here goes my review.

Eighteen – An effect that involves math. You will need to prep the deck with a simple stack and do some writing on some of the cards. This is basically a prediction effect whereby the total of 3 cards’ value are added and the prediction is written on the back of the card as well as the box. Self-working and easy to do.

Pip My Ride – Described as an “incredibly visual moving pip effect” which I have to disagree. It is visual but not incredibly visual. It’s essentially a pip getting transferred onto another card. A novel card effect though.

Gnoma – What is Gnoma? It’s actually “among” spelt backwards. This is a sandwich effect with an addition of transposition between the black and red aces. Its impromptu and easy to do. An effective card trick .

Progression – An ace assembly with the resemblance of Coin Matrix. The kings from 1 of the 4 piles disappear and join another pile, at the end of the effect, the kings jumps back to their original pile. An interesting take on the card assembly. Nice!

Offshoot – A neat effect with the production of the 3 matching value of the spectator’s selected card in between 4 cards. An interesting and creative effect.

Void Voyage – Ha! An Acme portable hole. I like this very much. The hole travels from the performer’s card into the card that the spectator is holding. Requires you to make a gaff card which is simple and very clever too.

New Addition – I wouldn’t really consider this as a mathematical effect. You will need to add the value of the prediction cards to arrive at the value of the selection.

Twisted Again – Twisting the Aces with plenty of additions! The spectator chosen card is lost and then revealed at the end of the routine. The revelation of the card can be produced from the pocket or even a wallet (using a card to wallet). Nice.

Ultimate Separation – Oil and water effect which I feel that it is not bad but wouldn’t consider it as “ultimate”. It uses the card case as part of the routine.

The Colour of Money – The last routine in this volume, another novel trick using a pool theme. You’ll need to prepare the deck, a cue chalk and an 8 ball. The production of the 8 ball is very visual. Well thought-out routine but it will be a challenge for a beginner though.

In conclusion, there are some nice routines in these 2 DVDs but there are some routines which can be confusing as well. Both Forrest and Francis are very creative magicians though I wish they could add more variety apart from cards in this set. Card lovers will enjoy these routines and I pretty sure that there’ll be a few routines which will fit into your repertoire.

Rating 3.5/5

The New Relentless Ring And String by Bob Miller and DJ Ehlert – DVD

Written by Bernard Sim

 

When I first saw this routine, it was on VHS many years ago. This is the type of routines that you don’t see young magicians performing anymore. Now Bob Miller and DJ Ehlert has updated this routine with many ideas and moves. You will be getting a shoelace, the original booklet of this routine in softcopy, a vest topit pattern and some essays on working tables; these are found in the CD-Rom part of the DVD.

The routine is basically a finger ring coming on/off a piece of shoelace in different ways. This is a modular routine whereby you don’t have to perform the whole routine. You can stop the routine midway in situations like when the food arrives when performing in a restaurant. There is no gimmick in the routine and you can even borrow the ring and even the shoelace.

This DVD is packed full of information and ideas. Routines using rubber bands with the ring, shoelace routines derived from rope moves and ring to card box are also taught (just to name a few). When you learn this routine and the moves in this DVD, you will be able to mix and match the moves to come out with your own routine. Besides the ring affiliated routines, silk magic and card magic with pearl poodles are also shown.

This is probably an “old-school” routine but I think this is a classic and all close-up magicians should learn. If you have never learn a ring and string routine, this is a very good DVD to start. Highly recommended. Rating 4.5/5

This, That, and The Other (Cards and DVD) by Stephen Tucker and Martin Breese

Written by Bernard Sim

 

“This, That and the Other performed by someone who was not authorized to do so has been viewed on Youtube more than fifteen million times and is the most viewed trick ever.” The above statement was printed on the back of the DVD cover. I don’t know the rationale behind this statement but anyway he goes my review.

What you get are specially printed cards, DVD and an instructions booklet. The DVD is about 10 minutes long and the booklet will show you the finer details on the handling part. The demo video on the internet shows you the full routine and you will learn the same routine in this package. The video quality is not fantastic and I find that to include a booklet and a DVD is not really necessary. I prefer either a DVD with full explanation (including fine details) or a booklet with full instructions. To have both in this short effect is overkill, besides this will also increase the cost.

Though this routine is not difficult to do, I find that it may be a tad difficult for the spectator to follow as the routine can be confusing at times. The overall effect is similar to “Color Monte” but there is a big price difference between these two effects.

Stephen Tucker is a very clever magician however; I am going to give this a 3/5 due to the pricing of US$35 for this single effect.

TKO: The Kaylor Option (Book, DVD, Gimmick)

Written by Bernard Sim

When I first saw the online demo, the vanish looks really magical. Most magician would probably know the method to accomplish the vanish. If you were to use the traditional way to do a similar vanish, you would need to wear a jacket.

Of course there are other versions that uses similar concept. There are the vest versions as well as the jacket version. The closest version to TKO is a version by my friend Enrico, his version “Tiepit” uses a tie. Tiepit is a good method if you are wearing a tie. Tiepit can be found in Bob Fitch’s Topit DVD.

For TKO, you can’t wear a tie when you use it. It is most suitable when you wear casual clothing. You will need to wear shirt with buttons. Having known other methods, I was not really intrigued by the demo though it looks magical. But once I look at the gimmick, my opinion of TKO immediately changed. The device is very cleverly designed and you can even retrieve vanished items. The book and the DVD give very clear instructions on how to install and use the TKO.

The only downside of this item is the price. I feel that the book is redundant as a DVD is already included. Additional info can be added into the DVD and the book can be taken out of this package to lower the price. Overall, I think this is a very good item for close-up worker. Highly recommended. Rating 4.5/5

Twisted Blizzard (DVD and Deck) by Aaron Delong and JB magic

Written by Bernard Sim

When I first saw the gimmicked deck it was exactly what I guess it would be. The Twisted Blizzard routine is fun and easy to perform and it even ends with a kicker. The deck is in bicycle stock and the quality is very good. DVD clearly explains everything you need to perform this effect. There is totally no sleight of hand involved although sometimes you have to be aware of the orientation of the cards.

I like the main routine “Twisted Blizzard” but I think the bonus effect “White Trash” is even better. In fact, I think the bonus routine should be the selling point for this effect and twisted Blizzard should be the bonus. Yes, it’s that good! I have always like “Out of this world effect” and White Trash is a very good version of OOTW.I’ m sure those creative magicians will be able to come out with more ideas using this deck.

 

You may need to have good audience management when performing this using this deck as they cannot be examined. Other than this, I highly recommend it. Rating 4/5.