Magic Products Review

VICTORIAN COINS AND GLASS by Kainoa Harbottle

Written by Bernard Sim

When I first saw Harbottle’s magic, it was on VHS under Curtis Kam’s Palms of Steel one.  He left a deep impression on me as his coin magic was graceful and at the same time very tough.  I have no doubt many people like him and his coin magic and at the same time, I don’t think many will do his routine as they are not so easy.

Victorian Coins and Glass fall in between easy and tough and it’s actually quite doable.   What you get is a very nice glass and a DVD.  The design of the glass makes it very easy to manipulate the coins and perform Harbottle’s routine.  You will need to provide your own special coin in order to do his routine.  This gimmick is very common and serious coin magician would already have it.

The moves taught in the DVD are refreshing and they are not your standard coin moves.  While some of the moves are not so easy, you can always substitute it with other moves.  With the glass, it aids in hiding the coin in plain sight.  You can see from the top down pic here.

Routine

The routine is basically a coins across routine done on a glass.  It has a lot of audience participation and it will make your spectator seems like they are doing the magic, especially when they are holding the coins/ glass when the coins travels.  The coins travels one at a time and every time the coin travels, it seems to be more impossible than the one before.

There are also 2 bonus routines included to be used with the glass. The first one is a 4 coin production and the second one is a copper silver transpo routine.

With this glass, you can do a lot more than what is taught in the dvd.  The moves taught in the DVD can also be applied to your regular coin magic.  At $30, I think this is worth it as the glass is not some cheapo prop that you see many magician put out these days just to make a buck.

Rating:  Tough but doable coin magic.  Highly recommended 8.5/10

SPLIT by Yves Doumergue and JeanLuc Bertrand

Written by Derek Lee

A bill instantly becomes 2 different bills when it is pulled.  When I saw the trailer, I was very excited because the effect really looks like real magic and very visual.  John Archer and Dynamo were featured in the trailer making the effect look even more interesting.

Unfortunately I was very disappointed upon receiving the trick.  It costs around sixty dollars.  For this price, I expected a lot more from the product.   As the gimmick is on the dollar bill, you cannot use spectator’s bill to perform this effect.  The product comes with ten fake waterproof bills (which I find pretty useless as it would took more organic with making the gimmick with real dollar notes), material (to make the gimmick) and a link to an online tutorial about ten minutes to teach you only how to make the gimmick.  They did not cover any tips on the presentation or even the handling.  The instructions are rather poor, although you should be able to comprehend after watching it repeatedly.

The gimmick was not very difficult to construct but still take some effort to perfect it.   The final appearance of the two dollar bills is not 100% examinable, only one can be handed out for examination.  Please note that if you appear two bills at the end of your effect, you will have to cut up one bill initially to construct the gimmick.

To sum it up, personally I feel that this effect cannot be performed close-up commercially and especially not under bright lights.  The product is simply over-valued.  The instruction video was very disappointing to me.  Nevertheless it is a great idea and will be suitable for anyone who wants to make a fantastic video magic performance or perhaps a parlour trick.

Rating: 6/10 

TOKEN by SanaMinds Creative Lab

Written by Bernard Sim

Again, another very good trailer from Sandsmind.  These guys really know how to produce nice trailers.  Token is a visual effect whereby a straw is slowly pushed into the fist and becomes a heart shaped origami straw.

Effect wise I think this one is not too bad, at least your spectator gets to keep a souvenir of your performance and will also remember you.  You get the instructional DVD and a set of gimmicks.  The gimmicks are not specially made items but are ordinary objects which I think some of you may already have.  At US$34.95, I think the price is quite fair considering the added gimmicks.

There are certain requirements when performing Token.  First of all, you need to be wearing a jacket.  You will also need to prepare the straw (easy) and also fold the heart shaped straw for giveaways.  The heart shaped straw requires 2 straws to make, but that should not be a problem as straws are pretty cheap.  It is very easy to perform Token, no complicated moves.

The only thing I don’t like about this is how the trailer portrays this product.  By watching the trailer, you’d think that you can just take a straw from a spectator and then do the magic.  I counted 8 spectators accepting the heart shaped straw from the magician.  What are the chances of the people on the beach using the same straw?   The trailer shows the magician borrowing the straw from the spectator and then go into performing the effect.  That segment has something missing which makes it vital for this product.  You can’t simply take the straw from someone and then go into performing the effect without doing that part.  Though that part is not difficult to do, it may be decision making part of buying this product.

The DVD says that this may be a good effect from working magicians as one of the methods allows it to be performed surrounded.  However, it will not make sense for a magician to be carrying a drinking cup with a straw while working.

It’s a nice concept and effect. I just simply don’t like the trailer.

Rating:  7/10

FISM MONTE

Written by John Teo

There is a popular card monte effect involving a spread of 5 cards.  Usually these 5 cards are glued together to make it easier to hold the spread.  The middle card is different from the other 4 cards.  It is usually a picture card whereas the other 4 cards are not.  Or it is the only red card or the only black card in the spread. 

A spectator is given a small paper clip and is told to clip the back of the middle card.  The spectator will always fail to clip the correct card.  Even when the spectator knows the secret, it will take her a while before she can fully appreciate what has been going on.  It is an effective little trick that is found in a beginner’s magic set.  There is no real ending for the trick.

Here comes Hiro Sakai who finds an interesting and practical ending to this trick.

In effect, the performer displays a spread of 5 cards held together by a large paper clip.  The 5 cards are the Ace of clubs, two of spades, three of hearts, four of clubs and five of spades.  The middle card, the three of hearts, is the only red colour card, and is the odd card in the spread.

A spectator is given a small paper clip.  The performer turns around the spread of 5 cards so that their backs are showing.  The spectator has to clip the odd red card from the back. 

When the spread of cards is turned over, the spectator will find that she had clipped the Ace of clubs instead!  The performer remarks that perhaps the large paper clip is causing some confusion.  The spread of cards is turned over, and the clip is removed.  The spectator has another go at clipping the odd red card.  She is quite certain she has clipped the middle card.  When this card is turned over, she has clipped the Ace of clubs again!  She does not understand.

The performer tells her she that she has no chance at all.  He turns over each of the other 4 cards.  They are all Aces of clubs!  There is no trace of the two, four, five or the red three.  Everything can be examined.

The effect is simple to perform and is highly deceptive.  You receive all the 5 cards, including a special gimmick.  The original set from Japan does not include the 2 paper clips.  Redefine Magic Outlet will provide you the 2 clips at no extra charge so that you can perform the effect straight away.

 

Highly recommended!

ENLIGHTEN by Magic Tao

Written by Bernard Sim

Objects in impossible locations.  Enlighten is one such effect.  There are many effects using lighters and Enlighten is one that combines the use of playing cards.  The basic routine is a torn corner of a playing card vanishes and appears inside the lighter.

Before I watched the DVD, I have not watched the demo or read the product description of this item.   For the first 20mins, the DVD teaches you how to prepare the lighter, there are several similar methods to prepare the lighter.  So far, I still don’t know what the effect was.  After continuing to watch the DVD, Mayar finally performed the basic routine which last for about 1 or 2 mins.  While I was not really impressed by the routine, layman may find it magical as the torn corner of their selected card is inside the lighter. 

Several routines are taught and most of them are rather similar.  Some routines uses flash paper which I find it to be effective as fire adds mystery to the vanish and appearance of the torn corner.  Another routine is where the corner ends inside the lighter is then taken out and hands over to spectator for examination.

I think it’ll be fun just by preparing the lighter, I always like such stuff.  Mayer teaches a method to vanish the corner and credits it to Joshua Jay.  I think that method is called The Pentium Vanish by Elvind Lowig found in his book Stand Up Coin Power.   At the end of the DVD, Mayer shares on how you can remove the label on the lighter by using lighter fluid.  Lighter fluid is effective, but I think a better method is to use WD40.  Peel it and spray it and then clean it.  Simple.

Anyway, this could be a fun routine for laymen.  I’m rather mix by this, probably due to my view as a magician.  A laymen might defer from my view.

Rating:  7/10

ROPED EVOLUTION by Juan Pablo

Written by Bernard Sim

Roped Evolution is a very visual and magical rope routine.  If you have seen the trailer, you’d know what I mean.

This routine is very different from your other rope routines.  While this can only be done as an opener for your rope routine, it can be a very interesting one.  The actual routine is very short and if you are an MC, this would be very suitable for you.  As for magicians, to perform this on its own would not be very good (IMO) as this routine establishes you as a magician and your spectators would expect more.  It is also not very difficult to add routines after performing Roped Evolution.   You’d end up with 2 equal lengths of regular ropes, so you can essentially perform anything with it.  You can even do a cut and restore without fear of damaging the Roped Evolution routine as the ropes you end with are regular ropes and easily replaceable.

What you get are 2 regular ropes, a gimmick and a DVD.  The routine is very easy to perform and the initial set-up will take about 1 min.  Performance set up is less than 30 seconds but you have to do it under cover.  Pablo teaches you how to do a set-up in the midst of your performance.  The instructions given are clear and easy to understand.  You’d have no problem performing this once you have watched the DVD.

Many have agreed that a rope routine always lack a kicker ending, while Roped Evolution doesn’t help in that ending, it sure does help in the opening.  If you have a rope routine in your act, you should add this in immediately!

Rating:  9/10. Highly Recommended.