Magic Products Review

Romhany On Stage by Paul Romhany - DVD

Written by John Teo

Paul Romhany is an internationally acclaimed magician, having performed in numerous theaters, cruise ships and on televisions all over the world.   He is most famous for his Charlie Chaplin act, in which he dresses up as the silent classic character of years gone by, and performs visual magic without patter.

In this DVD, you get to see snippets of his Chaplin act.  This comprises ladder form case, linking coat-hangers, unending silk production from pocket, cut and restored rope routine, Ricki Dunn’s drink trick and his levitating broom.

Paul performs and explains the following effects:
• Rope Routine – an adaptation of the George Sands routine and features rope with 4 ends, sliding knots, transposable and detachable ends.  Paul also discusses the type of rope he used.
• Newspaper / Umbrella Routine – skeletal umbrella to umbrella with newspaper fabric.
• Dream Holiday – an entertaining prediction effect in which he predicts the destination, the cost as well as the name of a lady a spectator is going to take to a dream holiday.  Paul discusses a couple of subtleties such as how to do the effect without using an expensive wallet, or having to resort to double writing.
• Clean Sweep – this is Paul’s version of the Fred/Oscar/Phil trick.  A randomly named card correctly identifies an object hidden inside a paper bag.  Paul discusses the use of only one deck to accomplish this effect.
• Linking Coat-hangers – this is a performance only with an invited spectator on stage.

These are some of Paul’s favourite routines that he uses in his professional acts.  Paul is an accomplished magician and you can see the entertainment value of all his performances in the DVD.  The DVD is well produced and it is difficult not to be able to find as least one item that you can add to your performing repertoire.  (4.5/5 stars rating)

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Lunch Date by Paul Romhany - DVD

Written by John Teo

The “Out To Lunch” principle allows whatever is depicted on a piece of paper to change partially even though the piece of paper is initially seen and signed by a spectator.  A creative person can use this concept to make the picture of an object vanish, appear or change its state.  In this DVD, Paul Romhany shows you more than half a dozen different routines using the “Out To Lunch” principle.  These effects are taken from a book he co-wrote earlier with T C Tahoe entitled “Lunch Is Served”.

It begins with a description of the original “Out To Lunch” effect.  Paul then goes on to perform and explain the following routines:
• Time Change – picture of a clock changes to match a time randomly set on a wrist watch
• 8 Ball Production – a close-up version of Kevin James’ bowling ball from drawing pad
• Business Card Switcharoo – a multi-phase routine where the signature of a spectator on a business card changes place with that of the performer
• Envelope OTL -  “Out To Lunch” using envelopes, this enables a bill to vanish, or be switched, and this leads easily to bill in orange
• Fork and Spoon – picture of a fork change places with that of a spoon
• Coin On Card – a coin vanishes and reappears drawn onto a piece of card
• Cookies Fortune – a parlour or stage version where a picture of a fortune cookie reveals a freely chosen number, colour and a fortune cookie fortune

The DVD is well produced, and Paul does a marvelous job in performing and explaining the effects.  The various applications of the “Out To Lunch” principle should encourage you to come out with your own routines.  (4.5/5 stars rating)

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Unleaded by Txema Gico and Devin Knight - Trick

Written by John Teo

Essentially, this is pencil writing without resorting to a leaded secret device such as swami, boon or nail writer.  There is a “gimmick” involved, and although the principle is quite unique, other similar methods have been used previously, but they are now no longer readily available.

There are a couple of ways to use “Unleaded”.  You can use it for secret writing but without resorting to a writing device such as nail writer.  This will result in a mental effect, eg a prediction.  You can use a borrowed item such as a hair pin or toothpick and use it to visibly write in lead as though you are using a pencil.  This will result in a magical effect, eg using a non-leaded object to write a message in lead.

Devin Knight combines both effects and comes out with an interesting spirit-writing trick which he calls “Led By The Spirit”.  A playing card is selected.  A sheet of paper is torn off from a small writing pad.  A spectator uses a pencil and writes her signature on a corner of the paper.  Spectator chooses a toothpick and the performer uses this toothpick to visibly write the name of the selected card.  The writing appears in the same pencil lead as the signature of the spectator.  When the selected card is turned over, it matches the written prediction.  Devin dresses up the presentation by calling upon the spirit of Elvis to help him divine the name of the selected card.  This provides some hilarious moments in the routine, which leads to an equally humorous revelation of the selected card.  Devin also designs a subtlety where the spectator takes the same toothpick and uses it to write on the piece of paper, but no visible writing results.

Txema Gico discovers the principles of “Unleaded”.  He provides 2 routines that he uses in his own performances.  You are provided with the pad of paper, a couple of sample toothpicks, and comprehensive printed instructions.  (4.5/5 stars rating)


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Metamorphosis (With Gimmicks) by Wayne Dobson and Mark Mason - DVD

Written by John Teo

This is a quick and visual close-up effect.  Performer shows a spectator 2 different coins: they are a half dollar and a Chinese hole coin.  Spectator can examine both coins.  She places both coins inside her closed hands.  Performer takes the half dollar from the closed hands and places it on top of the back of her hand.  In almost an instant, the 2 coins change places!  Once again, the spectator can examine the 2 coins to her heart’s content.

You receive a professional quality instructional DVD, a half dollar, a red colour hole Chinese coin, pocket wallet, business cards, and a couple of gimmicks, one of which is precision-made.

The trick is performed and explained by Mark Mason.  Mark is an excellent performer and has a nice presentation for this effect.  There is a bonus section where Mark explains another simpler version.  The trade-off is that the 2 coins cannot be thoroughly examined at the beginning, although that can be done at the end of the trick.

If you like quick visual magic for walk-around, this is for you.  (4.5/5 stars rating).

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Jonathan Goodwin Talks To Jay Fortune #3 (2 CD set) - Tricks

Written by John Teo

This is a set of 2 audio discs.  Jay Fortune interviews a young escapologist and magician, Jonathan Goodwin. 

In a media such as this that appeals only to your ears and not your eyes, you should not expect the explanations of tricks.  In fact, when you get to know more about Jonathan Goodwin, you will realize that he does not consider himself as a magician, but an escapologist.  He does not like magic and the magic fraternity at large.  This is what makes it interesting to hear from this controversial man.  What, according to Jonathan, is wrong with our magic art and the magic world?  When I hear what he has to say, I can concur with some of the things he observed, but not all.

For example, I do go along with him when he argued against the popular saying that “a magician is an actor playing the part of a magician”.  There is indeed a significant difference between acting and performing.  Jonathan hates the rigid structure of a magic trick.  If magic were real, one should be able to do magic anywhere and with any thing.  From here, Jonathan talks about using creativity.

He certainly practices what he peaches.  Jonathan created and starred in the TV special “The 7 Most Stupid Things To Escape From”.  What can be more creative and unique than to escape from a confinement with thousands of bees, strapped to the outside of a car going through a car wash, buried inside a coffin beneath tons of concrete, constrained on a crane swung into TVs, and other “stupid things”.  Thankfully, his escape from the inside of a dead cow (read that again!) did not get to be aired on TV.  Jonathan shares his ideas on not escaping from death but from harm, and his toleration of pain.  You cannot help but agree with him when he explains the negative impact of Russian Roulette.  This led him to design his escape from the gallows in “Death Wish Live”, and he almost killed himself in the show in front of live audience.  To prove that he is the master escapologist, he challenged his interviewer to retrain him with Gaffa-tape in the radio studio.  You can hear his triumphant escape within the 20 seconds time period that was given to him.

If you do not wish to be just one of the “run-of-the-mills” magicians, you need to seriously think about your magic performance.  After hearing this interview with Jonathan Goodwin, you will want to carefully think about all aspects of your magical performance so that you can become that extraordinary magician.  (4.5/5 stars rating)

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Identity (With Gimmicks) by Richard Sanders

Written by John Teo

This is an unusual but powerful trick.  In effect, a card is chosen and marked, and is shuffled back into the deck.  Performer draws a series of random short lines and curves with a marker on the back of an indifferent card.  These marks visually jump from one card to another.  Finally, they vanish and reappear on the back of the chosen card.  As a final kicker, you cause these marks to magically morph into the name of the spectator who chose the card!  She can then keep this card as a souvenir.

You do not need to know the name of the spectator in advance.  Richard teaches you how you can approach a total stranger and yet perform this effect where the random marks transform into his or her name.

The instructions are in a DVD and you are supplied with a gimmick card.  You need to have some basic to intermediate card handling skills.  However, everything is taught, and taught well, in the DVD.  Richard gives several variations to the sleights used so that you can choose the handling that is most suitable for you.  The DVD runs for almost two hours and includes valuable tips, subtleties and the psychology behind each move.

Four versions are taught in the DVD:
1) Identity Extended: where the random marks jump from card to card before landing on the chosen card;
2) Identity Condensed: where the random marks jump straight to the chosen card;
3) Identity Maxed Out: Richards shows you how to further gimmick the gimmick card so as to cut down on some sleights;
4) Identity Impromptu: how to do the same effect without using any gimmick card.

With proper practice, this will be one of the most talk-about tricks in your performing repertoire.  (5/5 stars rating).

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