Magic Products Review

Unusual Suspect by Matthew Wright

Written by John Teo

This DVD contains 6 highly commercial close-up routines performed and taught by Matthew Wright.

Matthew Wright is an excellent performer. His magic has high impact with lots of magical happenings from start to finish You can see the tremendous effects of his performances on the spectators by watching the wonderful reactions on the spectators’ faces! Matthew has a distinctive humorous presentation style that suits his unique character. His routines uses magic props such as Mullica wallet, Mind power deck, a magnetic coin set, and the Omni deck. Even if you are able to obtain all these props, it is not recommended that you perform the magic exactly the way Matthew does them because it is highly unlikely that you posses the same humorous character as Matthew Wright. Matthew’s character allows him to continuously engage his spectators – therefore, his routines have a lot of magical happenings all the time. You may want to pick only those bits of magic that suit your performing character.

In Calzaghe’s Opener, the performer divines a look-at card. It is lost in the deck and then found by another spectator. The spectator signs the card, it changes into another card and the signed card is found inside the performer’s wallet. Finally the remainder of the deck vanishes, leaving behind a transparent block of plastic, and the cards are produced from the performer’s mouth. In this routine, you get to learn the “I-sight”, a technique originally devised by Joe Riding, that enables you to learn the identity of a merely look-at card.

Final Destination is a 3-fly coin effect where the last coin visibly floats from one hand to the other. This is accomplished by a gimmicked shell coin, and you are taught how to construct it. You also need to hook it up in your hands before you begin the trick. This puts a kind of a set-back to the trick, because you cannot take out 3 coins and go straight into the routine. Matthew uses a large container to enable him to hook up the set-up quickly. However, this container remains in sight throughout the routine, and becomes an eye-sore to the spectators. In addition to this, Matthew also uses a magnetic coin set to aid him in “transferring” the coin visually from hand to hand.

In Mental Mullica, a duplicate of a chosen card from a different deck is found clipped onto a bill inside a money folder inside a wallet. A gimmicked deck is used and you are told how to construct it.

Mint may be the most effective trick in the DVD. A spectator names a card she sees in a spread deck. It vanishes from the deck and is found folded inside a mint container. Matthew has an interesting presentation in which whoever eats the mint will be able to see something that is not there. It uses John Kennedy’s Mind Power deck to accomplish the vanish of the card. An alternative version is taught where you do not need to use this deck.

Mullica’s Nightmare is essentially a signed card in wallet trick. Matthew turns it into a hilarious routine where a spectator keeps finding her signed card in the deck at least 5 or 6 times before it ends up in the wallet.

The Big Finish Card Trick is multiple revelations of different chosen cards. In the performance, Matthew reveals 8 different selected cards in different manners. The last card ends up folded inside his mouth. In this segment, Matthew teaches a variation of the Pheonix Knights’ Aces production.

The DVD is well produced. As mentioned, you may not be able to perform in the same manner that Matthew does, but there should be at least several effects or techniques that you can add to your close-up magic repertoire.

(4.5/5 stars rating)

Illusion EFX by Andrew Mayne

Written by John Teo

Andrew Mayne is a creative magician. He takes existing magical principles and tweak them so that he can find new applications for them. The result is new effects. In this DVD, he presents 7 illusions. The objectives are: they are inexpensive and easy to build.

In “Minimoto”, a mini-motorcycle makes an instant appearance on top of an empty scaffold-type structure. This same structure is used in “Banished” to make an assistant vanish instantly.

“5th Dimension” is an effective illusion where the performer walks through an audience member. A variation of this is “Transformer”, where the performer changes place with his assistant so quickly that there appears to be no explanation for it. In “The Wall”, the performer recedes into a solid wall, and when the cloth cover is taken away, his assistant makes a surprising appearance.
There is a Shadow Box that is packed flat and can be built for under US$50. It is called “Shadows”. This apparatus is also used in “Enlarger” where objects magically grow larger – finally, an assistant is produced from it.

The DVD is well produced and runs for just over one hour. Andrew Mayne explains each illusion clearly – he discusses the method, construction, set-up and performance. He then explains what makes each illusion “ticks” – this is the most valuable part of the instructions. He also talks about how to use each illusion for a different effect. For example, “The Wall” can be used to make the performer appear magically instead of causing the magician to pass through the solid wall. A viewer with an open mind can learn a lot about creating magical effects from Andrew Mayne in this DVD.

(5/5 stars rating).

Heirloom by Colin Miller, Jamie Badman and Alakazam

Written by John Teo



This is a wonderful adaptation of Kenton Knepper’s “Kolossal Killer” effect. In this presentation, it makes more sense to use the “letter” as the out.

The performer tells how he got started out in magic. He relates the story of his uncle who played his last game of poker where he put all his money into it. He was waiting for one card to complete his poker hand to take in the winnings. A spectator is asked to simply name any card in the deck. The performer takes out an old photograph from his wallet. It shows his uncle with the “last card” he was waiting to complete his poker hand. This last card turns out not to be the same card that the spectator names. However, there is an accompanying letter. It was a letter written to his wife asking for her forgiveness because he had lost all their money as the last card he got was of the same colour and suit as the card named by the spectator, but the wrong value. The letter also stated what this value should be! Imagine this – any card named by the spectator is predicted correctly by the photograph and the letter!

This effect has an eerie yet emotional impact. It is packed small – carried in a wallet – but plays very big. The effect is explained by Peter Nardi in a DVD. Peter also describes other variations, tips and ideas. The DVD comes with all the necessary cards (“photographs”) and the special “letter”. Peter also explains a bonus pack of heirloom cards (separate purchase) that can be used with an ESP deck, or other popular magician’s decks. He also mentions a special heirloom wallet (separate purchase) that can simplify and enhance the handling of the heirloom trick. Just to be sure – you do not need the special bonus pack and the wallet to perform this version of heirloom.
Rating 5/5

John Kennedy's Mojoe

Written by Joel Tay

 

Mojoe is the latest close-up effect released by John Kennedy.

Comes with: Gimmick and a teaching DVD

The Effect: The magician sips a full cup of hot steaming coffee. T hen in full view, he covers the cup with his hands. The cup is overturned, and to everyone’s astonishment, his hand is not burnt... then they realised that the coffee is gone too.

Review: There are various handlings and versions of this effect taught in the DVD. These alternative versions of the effect, which are just as easy to perform, are much stronger than the effect John Kennedy chose to show in his promotional video clip. This is because the alternative handlings allow the magician to hand out the cup out for examination.

 

For example, one of the variations taught in the DVD allows the magician to cover the top of the cup with a serviette, wave his hands a few times over it, and then remove the napkin to show that the cup is now empty.

 

Another variation allows the magician to cover the cup with a serviette, wave a few times, and show that the coffee has transformed into a cup full of coffee beans. Yet another variation allows you to place the coffee cup into a paper bag, seal the bag, and then proceed to overturn and crush the bag. Both the bag and the cup can be handled out for examination.

 

Typical of most of John Kennedy effects, Mojoe is expensive; but it is also a great effect to perform in close-up situations or when you are hanging out at Coffee Bean with a friend.

 

It can be performed using other liquids besides Coffee such as Coke, Milk, etc. There is a quick set-up for the effect.

 

Mojoe is relatively easy to perform and works with both paper coffee-cups and some ceramic mugs. There is no switching of cups whatsoever, and neither are there any messy plastic bags or tubes. You can even sip on the coffee before making it disappear. No refills are needed for Mojoe.

The teaching on the DVD is clear, concise and easy to follow.

4.5/5.

 

 

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The Magic of Michael Ammar (DVD)

Written by Enrico Varella

The original recording of these videos was by Videonics Inc. of Canada in 1982; then L&L Publishing acquired and released it in 1999 as EARLY AMMAR; and now, as the re-titled series (2009).
 
This is an opportunity to appreciate Ammar at his youthful best, and peak of his technical prowess (soon after he won first prize in FISM for Close Up in Lausanne, Switzerland). You may decide if he demonstrated his potential as an effective teacher in magic. In fact, he was the first to deliver in numerous volumes the popular Easy to Master series of instructional videos.
 
You will witness Ammar performing for a studio audience, who are more natural in their reactions than latter-day L&L productions. Ammar knows how to design and perform commercially tested effects that ‘pack small, and play big’. Many of us may already have included Ammar effects (and thoswe he popularized like Blindman Handcuffs a.k.a. Linking Rubber Bands) in our performing repertoire.
 
My favourite volumes out of the four were 1 and 2. Volume 1: Command Performance covers the tricks found in his bestselling book, The Magic of Michael Ammar. In it is featured Iceman Cometh (torn card in ice block), Salt & Pepper Transposition, The Vanishing Glass (Two Methods), Card Matrix, Pull Tab, Torn & Restored Cigarette, One-Handed Bottom Deal Force, and Billy Balloon.
 
Volume 2: World-Class Close Up features his FISM-winning Coins in Silk, Beanie Weenie (Paul Harris’s effect), The Yeast Card (which plays well now that you can see a live act), One-Handed card Fold, The Gallo Pitch (two versions), Card on Ceiling, Ambitious Card Bluff Move (Tommy Wonder’s) and $2 Bills into 2 Ones. I enjoyed the simplicity of Coins in Silk; yet, simple does not mean easy! Weenie Beanie is worth doing if you can do a Chop-Cup routine, or Cups & Balls.
 
Volume 3: A Touch of Magic – Coins covers a wide array of card sleights, and effects like Pencil Through Quarter, One Finger Spellbound, Coins Through Table (Mike Gallo), and False Count with Coins.
 
Volume 4: A Touch of Magic – Cards includes both card sleights and their applications in card tricks such as Inversion (James Lewis), Visually Yours, Bluefield Debut and Card From Box. Inversion is a very good trick with multiple endings.
 
There is a lot of material to select, and I advise that students take your time learning the routines, and using it. If are impatient, then watch and learn from Volumes 1 and 2 first. Never waste a learnt routine – integrate it into your act soon.

 

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Malini Egg Bag by Bob White - DVD

Written by Bernard Sim

A classic effect that is suitable for a few spectators up to a large audience. It is also suitable for an audience of any ages. The routine involves audience participation and it is puzzling and at the same time magical.

The DVD is divided into several segments,

Introduction

Performance

Performance walkthrough

The Props

Turning the bag

Examining the props

Phase I, I, III

Bonus performance

Bob White will walk you through on how to prepare the egg and how to take care of the bag. The routine is split into 3 phases and the explanation is very detailed and nothing is being held back. You can see that Bob White is a very seasoned performer and the routine is very well presented. Part of the routine allows the bag to be examined.

If you always wanted to do an egg bag routine, get this DVD. If you are already doing an egg bag routine, get this DVD as well as I believe you’ll be able to gain some benefits from it.

Highly recommended. 4/5

 

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