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Review of THE STEALTH ASSASSIN V1.1 by Peter Nardi

14 Apr

stealthassassinv1-fullReviewed by John Teo

THE STEALTH ASSASSIN V1.1 by Peter Nardi

The Stealth Assassin V1.1 is a special wallet that provides many applications for mental magic.

It was originated by Peter Nardi based on his Mind Spy and Stealth wallets – both of which are originally peek wallets.  Peter then incorporated Mark Strivings’ Sight Unseen peek capability.  The Stealth Assassin V1.1 is therefore a 2-way peek wallet plus more.  It also provides the following capabilities: billet index, crib holder, hold-out, and an out-to-lunch gimmick.  As mentioned by Peter Nardi and Marc Spelmann in the instructional set of 2 DVDs that come with this professionally manufactured leather wallet, you can perform a full 15 to 20 minutes mental routine using this device. 

As with any peek device, the most important thing is the timing, the misdirection (that should be built into the routine) and the rationale why you need to go back to the device, so that your peeking is invisible to the audience.  This strategy is discussed at length in the 10 routines that are included in the 2 DVDs.

Here are the 10 effects grouped under the various capabilities provided by the wallet:

  • Billet index – Short List
  • Crib – Quizmaster
  • Sight unseen – Card at any Number, Cash Cabaret
  • Stealth peek – Hollywood or Bust, First Love, One Ahead, Drawing Dupe, Drink on Me.
  • Out-To-Lunch – Add a Number

The Stealth Assassin V1.1 is truly a killer (pun intended), and a wonderful investment for mentalist.  (5/5 star rating.)

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Review of ADD-ICT RED by Wayne Dobson

14 Apr

addict redReviewed by John Teo

ADD-ICT RED by Wayne Dobson 

A small leather business card holder is shown to contain a prediction in the form of a playing card inside it.  The face of the card is not revealed at this point in time.

Performer says that he took this card from a deck of playing cards.  He has a strong feeling that a card will be selected from this deck that will match the prediction card.  If the prediction card is the 7 of hearts, the selected card will be the other red 7, ie 7 of diamonds.  If the prediction card is the 7 of spades, the selected card will be the other black 7, ie 7 of clubs.

A spectator shuffles the deck of cards and then deals one card at a time face downwards on the performer’s outstretched hand.  She stops dealing any time she wishes.  The stop-at card is then shown to be the same colour match as the prediction card!

In another version, the prediction card is taken from a different deck of cards.  The selected card matches exactly the prediction card in this case.  When the audience thinks that all the cards in this deck are the same card, the rest of the cards are shown to be blanks!

You are supplied with the leather holder, 2 gimmicked playing cards, the necessary accessories, and an instructional DVD.  No decks of cards are provided.  You need to supply them yourself, including the blank deck if you wish perform this version. 

In the DVD, Mark Mason does a good job performing and explaining the 2 versions.  The effect is straight-forward and has a great impact on the audience.  Best of all, it is easy to do.  When ordering, you need to inform if you require red or blue back gimmicked cards.  (5/5 star rating.)

Review of 100TH MONKEY by Chris Philpott

14 Apr

100 monkey

Reviewed by John Teo

100TH MONKEY by Chris Philpott

For those of you who are wondering what monkeys have to do with magic and especially mentalism, the name “The 100th Monkey” is taken from a research purportedly done on monkeys on the Japanese island of Koshima.  The study claimed that if enough number of monkeys are taught to carry out a new activity, this new behavior can be mysteriously observed to be spread over to other groups of monkeys.  It was called the 100th monkey effect.   

In “The Monkey” effect, the performer shows a word, say, Canada, on a poster board to the entire audience.  This word is kept hidden to a spectator who is invited up onto the stage.  The entire audience now concentrates on this word, and tries to send it to the spectator on the stage.  This spectator is asked to think of a country.  When the same poster board is shown to her, she agrees she is thinking of the very word on the card!  Chris Philpott discusses other variations of this, such as the “Subtle Monkey”.

The possible methodologies for this effect seem to be by stooge, pre-show, and some switching of cards.  Yet, none of these is necessary.  Chris Philpott has hit on a new principle and he applies it to magic – in this case, to mentalism. 

In “The Sixth Sense”, a clever adaptation of the “The Monkey” effect, 3 spectators are asked to think of a time, a place and an emotion.  Not only does the performer correctly tell which spectator is thinking of which item, he can also provide the specific details of the individual’s thought!

Perhaps, the most popular effect is “Speechless”.  A spectator temporarily loses her ability to pronounce a word, although the rest of the audience can easily do so!  In fact, several words are shown to the spectator and she has difficulty in pronouncing all of them.  This becomes amusing to the audience who finds that all of the words are common place words that people use everyday!

The discovery of this new principle is so important to the future of mentalism that it overshadows the slight disadvantage of ensuring that correct lighting as well as the proper vision of the spectator are necessary in order for the principle to work successfully.  Chris has also come out with several designs of the cards that cater for different environmental lighting.

A lot of work had been done by Chris Philpott to find ingenious applications for this principle, and especially in designing the many cards.   

You receive 2 DVDs and a dozen samples of the word cards so that you can use right away.  One DVD contains write-up of the 100th Monkey as well as a library of the design of the word cards.  The other DVD shows Chris giving a verbal rundown of his written manuscript.  This DVD should include more live performances of the various effects.

All these downsides are quite insignificant when compared to the new tool he has given mentalists.  Creative magicians will surely come out with other applications for the 100th monkey.  Chris himself says in both the DVDs that new routines and effects will be available soon from him.  (5/5 stars rating.) 

Review of AUTO-SPELL DECK by Devin Knight

14 Apr

auto spell

Reviewed by John Teo

AUTO-SPELL DECK by Devin Knight

Many variations of “spelling to your chosen card” effect have been around, but none provides the following uniqueness as found in Devin Knight’s “Auto-Spell Deck”:

  • No memory work
  • No sleights
  • Always spelt in the same manner
  • No forcing of cards
  • No marked cards
  • Easy to do
  • Done in the spectator’s hands

In effect, a deck of cards is shown to be well mixed up.  A card is chosen and then lost in the deck by the spectator inserting it in the middle of the deck. 

No one knows the location of the  chosen card.  The performer cuts the deck and he claims that this places the selected card in a certain position in the deck so that the spectator can spell to it.

The spectator names her chosen card, and locates it by spelling to its value, the word “of”, and the suit ending with the letter “s”.  Her chosen card is found at the end of the spelling.  As the spectator is spelling, each card is turned face upwards so that everyone can see there are no duplicate cards.  The deck can be reassembled without much problem, and the trick is suitable for walk-around performance

You are supplied with the special bicycle deck and Devin’s comprehensive instructions.  The effect is straight-forward and the handling can be carried out in the spectator’s hands.  (5/5 stars rating.)

Remarks: An e-book version is available which includes instructions on how to make up the special deck.  An up-dated e-book is now available where the deck allows the performer to know the identity of the chosen card without having the spectator to mention it.  Instructions also include how to construct the deck so that the selected card can be spelt to in the French, German and Spanish language respectively.

Review of BLIND DATE by Stephen Leathwaite

14 Apr

Blind date

Reviewed by John Teo

BLIND DATE by Stephen Leathwaite 

If you are looking for an entertaining effect that is sure to bring much laughter to your audience, then “Blind Date” will be a definite hit, especially with the ladies!

A lady spectator participates in a “Blind Date” game with the performer.  A packet of cards is displayed – each card comprises a suitable male candidate for the blind date.  The performer places a duplicate of one of the cards as a prediction face downwards on the table.

The lady spectator throws 3 dice and uses their sum total to determine which card (candidate) to select.  The cards that are not chosen are turned over and it can be seen that they comprise men of different ages and looks.  Much jokes can be cracked on each of them.  The selected card is turned over and it matches the prediction card!  The identity of the selected candidate never fails to bring much laughter from the audience.

You are supplied with the packet of specially printed cards and an instructional DVD.  You are not supplied with the 3 dice, which are not gimmicked.  In fact, once you understand the principle, you may want to use your own method (which may not involve dice) for arriving at the selected candidate card.

If you are looking for a highly entertaining effect, you cannot go wrong with Blind Date.  The only downside is that it is rather costly for what you get.  (4/5 stars rating.)

Review of THE PENNIES by Giovanni Livera

14 Apr

thepennies-fullReviewed by John Teo

THE PENNIES by Giovanni Livera

Tricks based on mathematical principles tend to be draggy and too long drawn out in the performance.

This is particularly so for an effect such as this one where small coins (pennies, in this case) are placed along the 4 sides of an imaginary square.  Ten coins are counted along each side.  A spectator adds one coin onto the existing coins on one side – this should make this side 11 coins.  The performer moves the existing coins around along the sides of the square, but never taking away or adding any more coins, yet each side of the square is counted to contain 10 coins.  This continues several more times.  Each time the spectator adds in one coin, the performer moves the coins around the square without taking away or adding in coins, and yet each side of the square is counted to still have 10 coins. 

The effect becomes more intriguing each time it is repeated.  Unfortunately, repeating means too many counting and this slows down the effect as well as provides the possibility of eventually exposing the mathematical principle.  This is where Giovanni comes in – despite repeated counting, he is able to keep the pace going fast by his superb management of the audience.  You can see from the performance that the audience is thoroughly entertained and instead of discovering the mathematical principle, they are totally baffled at the end!

Learn from Giovanni the art of entertainment and how to make a small effect play big!  You are supplied with a well-produced DVD and 4 empty paper rolls for 50 pennies.  A roll of 50 pennies plays a significant role in Giovanni’s presentation.  There is a bonus effect on how to produce a roll of 50 pennies from a tiny purse.  There is also an interview session with Giovanni on his various performances of the Pennies.

If there is a downside, it is the fact that this is only a one-effect DVD, and as such, it is a little pricey.  (4.5/5 stars rating.)

Review of CUBE CARD by Perseus Arkomanis

14 Apr

Card Cube Perseus Arkomanis

Reviewed by  John Teo

CUBE CARD by Perseus Arkomanis 

Novel magic always has a great impact on the audience, because the audience are seeing something truly impossible – something truly magical!

Effects that fall into this category includes coin bend, card warp, trapdoor card and anniversary waltz.  The resulting object can be given out to the spectator as a souvenir, which makes them remember the magician.  This is an important marketing ploy!

Card cube is the latest original plot that falls into this category.  Crated by Greek magician Perseus Arkomanis, this is a card cube that is folded from a single playing card and held together without any glue, but just by its shape and clever folds.

The obvious effect consists of a spectator’s chosen card magically transforming into a card cube, which can then be given to the spectator as a souvenir of their encounter with this fantastic magician.  Perseus’ transformation of the chosen card into the card cube is most visual and magical.

You receive only an instructional DVD, nothing else is supplied.  In it, Perseus teaches you in detail how to construct the card cube.  He gives several methods of transforming a chosen card into the card cube, all very visual.  You can transform the selected card into a card cube with the back design showing, and then, like the spellbound coin effect, change it into the chosen card card cube.  Perseus also discusses possibilities using your business card for the card cube.

A wonderful, original, impossible card effect.  (5/5 star rating.)