My first encounter with Stefan Olschewski was through his booklet “Mes(s)merize”, and his e-instructions “Key To Your Card”, “Eggstremely Dangerous” and “Pretty Attractive”.  From his writings, I have found Stefan’s effects to be novel, fun, colourful and he used clever, practical and sometimes, bold, methods.

All these descriptions hold true for the 5 mental effects found in this 2-DVD set entitled MENTALITIES.  The 45-minutes one-man mentalism show was taped live in Germany.

The 5 effects are:

· Technicolour ESP – this is similar in effect to Martin Lewis’ Technicolor Prediction except that 3 different ESP symbols are used instead of different colour envelopes.  It is a comedy prediction of which 2 envelopes will be selected by 2 spectators, and which envelope will be left behind for the performer.  Stefan uses a special envelope that allows it to be handled by the spectator, and the spectator themselves can take the prediction out of the envelope.

· Hangman – the performer must read the minds of 4 spectators before the stickman gets hung on the post.  This is a practical and bold method of reading what is written on a card sealed inside a pay-type envelope.

· The Key To Your Card – having read the e-instructions, I have always wanted to see how effective it is in an actual performance.  The tremendous applause after the effect shows how well it is being received by the audience.  This is an ACAAN plot in a story setting.  A card and its position in the deck are randomly and separately named by 2 spectators.  A spectator opens an old chest and takes out a deck of cards.  The named card is found at the specified location in the deck!

· JACR (Just another Chair Routine) – a different and a more interesting approach to the classic chair routine.  4 spectators participate in a “musical chairs” game.  Each chooses a colour cap and an envelope, inside of which contains a number.  A prediction held in full view all the time finally reveals not only the spectator with a particular colour cap and a number as the winner, but also spells out the order in which the others drop out of the game!

· Mes(s)merize – an effective closer to any parlour show.  Spectators individually write their thoughts and seal inside an envelope.  They throw their envelopes all over the stage floor.  A spectator picks up several envelopes from the floor and eventually selects one.  The chosen thought inside the envelope matches exactly the prediction placed inside a clear wine-glass standing on the table all the time.

The explanations to all the effects are conducted in a separate interview with both Martin Adams and Andrew Csirmaz.  Here, Stefan also discusses how he got started in magic, how he ends up performing mental magic, how he incorporates drama and theatre in mental magic, and an effective and novel opening for a mental magic show.

 

Here are mental effects that are fun to perform, colouful to watch, and involve a lot of audience participation.  Many of the methods employed are ingenious and practical and provide formidable tools for a working mentalist.  (5/5 stars rating.)