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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.)

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Review of More Power to You: The Very Best of David Acer – Book

2 Apr

Reviewed by Bernard Sim

It’s a BOOK! I know many of you will shun away from books. Before you do that, please read this review. I hope this book will influence you to do more reading than watching DVDs.

David Acer has always been a very funny guy. He has written books and produced some DVDs. Some of the effects in this book can also be found in his DVD. But don’t take the easy way out and buy his DVD, there are some real gems in this book.

The book’s sleeve description starts with “More power to you gathers the finest efforts blah blah blah blah blah blah DaiVernon blah blah blah blah”… I’m not kidding about the blah blah blah, its really printed in the sleeves. While reading through this book, I was actually smiling and laughing loudly. This book is probably magic’s most enjoyable and funny read.

As for the effects, most of them are very commercial and I feel that the effects can even be marketed as individual effects. At a retail price of $40, you get a whopping 32 effects in one book. You can’t do some of the effects all the time, only when the opportunity arises. An example would be exchanging “air” in your lungs with the “air” in an inflated balloon. Visual and funny. Another one would be using a washing machine to find a selected card…. very interesting, novel and strong at the same time.

Other effects ranges from close up to stage. One of the stage effects is a transposition effect between two persons. The method is cheap and the effect is stunning. I can imagine that you can add in lots of comedy into this effect.

Close-up effects includes

coins across – very different from your standard coins across

ring flight – transposition between ring and key

production of a mobile phone from a folded envelope – this effects allows you to get hold of the spectator’s phone number. The spectator will also have your phone number. I can see a lot of opportunity here, be in business or pleasure.

Time flies – a time machine concept along the lines of Alan Shaxon’s “It’s a hold-up” and Rich Marrota’s “Mugged”.

There are many more with cards, ropes, spectacles and matchbook. If you have never own a magic book before, start with this one. If you have always like books, you shouldn’t miss this. If you are…… well you get the idea, just BUY THIS BOOK!

Highly recommended! Rating 4.5/5.

 

Review of Squeak Technique (DVD and Squeakers) by Jeff McBride

19 Jan

Reviewed by Bernard Sim

There aren’t a lot of materials on the Squeaker in the market. You can probably still find the book “The Art of Public Squeaking” from some old magic shops.  This DVD will cover what the book covers and more.

If you were to look at the video demo for this DVD, you’d probably not be impressed by it. When I first saw the demo, I was thinking “What was Jeff McBride thinking?” The demo does not do this DVD justice. The DVD is divided into two parts. The first part is on the on the Ball and Bowl routine, this includes very detailed histories, tips on props as well as the method employed with squeakers. You’d be surprised that squeakers actually made the routine more enjoyable and it also acts as a “convincer” when the ball vanishes or appears.

The second part is on adding sound effects to routines such as Dancing cane, Waltzing Matilda, thimbles, mime. I was not really impressed on the second part of the DVD. I agree that you can improve your routine with squeakers but I think it has to be used sparingly. Another point that I was not impressed is probably with Jeff McBride’s character, I like Jeff McBride and he is a very good magician, I just don’t see him doing funny acts.

I am a sucker, I mean fan of squeakers. I have various squeakers and plenty of Swiss Warblers. They are always fun to use, especially good for pranks 🙂 . With this DVD, you will be able to add squeakers to your repertoire; squeakers will enhance your sponge ball routines. Recommended.

 

Rating 4/5.

 

Review of Empty (DVD and Gimmick) by Marcus Eddie and Kozmomagic

18 Jan

Reviewed by Bernard Sim

This box allows you to produce a full deck of cards or anything that can fit inside a card box from a seemingly empty card box.

I find the effect ok; you can’t really use it as a routine by itself but rather as an opener or part of a routine. There are similar effects out that, a good one would be David Regal’s Sudden Deck 2. For Empty, you’d need to perform this with two hands; the angles are pretty good since you are using 2 hands. When showing the box empty, you will need to show the mouth of the box directly to your spectators. For Regal’s Sudden Deck, you can perform it with one hand and the box is clearly empty since the card box is opened flat out. Regal’s also has an additional printing of the card box effect.

Besides producing a deck, you can also use Empty like a change bag. Additional ideas are taught in the DVD.The production quality of the gimmick and DVD is top notch but I guess magicians are more interested in the quality of the effect. Between Empty and Sudden Deck, I’d choose the latter if I want to produce a deck of cards from an empty box. Other than deck, using Empty as a change bag can produce good results.

Rating 3.5/5

Review of Menu of Miracles III – The Main Course by James Prince & RSVP – DVD

3 Jan

Reviewed by Bernard Sim

If you have seen vol 1 and 2 of James Prince’s DVD, you expect the quality of effects he will include in his DVDs. If you have not seen them, you should get vol 1 and 2 as they contain great materials.

Vol 3 is no different from the previous vols. When I say no different, I meant the content’s quality is as good as the previous DVDs. Apart from all the practical effects, James Prince will also be dishing out some advice on approaching tables. He even gives possible scenarios on how the guests will react.

As for the effects, most of them are short and sweet. You won’t learn long routines here. Some of the effects require you to construct your own gimmick. The gimmicks vary from simple construction to a little more difficult. One of the effects requires you to modify a Jennings wallet. With this modification, loading of items is made a whole lot easier and quicker, current Jennings wallet user should take  a look at this.

One of my favorite effect in this DVD would be Coin Kebab. This is a “poor man’s” version of a cigarette/ pen thru coin.  You use a stick and an easily made coin (provided you have the proper tool) gimmick. With the pre-made gimmick coin, you can perform this effect with virtually any common coins.

Overall, I think restaurant workers should take a look at this DVD. Even hobbyist will be able to benefit from this DVD as all the effects can be performed anywhere. Recommended. Rating 4/5.

 

Review of 3 by Eric Ross – DVD

2 Dec

Reviewed by Bernard Sim

As stated, the title says it all. You get 3 routines in this DVD. The first routine is Chapped, a routine using a chap stick to reveal a selected card. I don’t quite like this effect. A chap stick has no correlation with a deck of cards; well some of you might argue that there are plenty of other items used in magic that are not related to a deck of cards. In this routine, the spectator gets to hold a chap stick and the label on the chap sticks changes into the name of the selected card. I find this boring. You get eight specially printed labels for your chap stick but I guess it doesn’t do much since it’ll be tough to find this brand here in this part of the world.

Shades is way way better that Chapped. This is similar to Mark Allen’s UV Nightshades released several years ago. Eric Ross version uses a playing card while Mark Allen’s uses a dollar bill. Shades is done on a signed card and everything can be examined at the end of the routine. This looks really cool.

Watermark – revelation of a selected card on a dollar bill. Although the revelation is kinda cool, I don’t quite like this as the bill can’t be examined at the end. If you borrow a bill to perform it, what will happen when your spectator gets the bill back and see that there is no watermark on it? Anyway you’ll need to make the gimmick yourself, the gimmick will last you a long time.

Though all the effects in this DVD is somewhat cool, I only like one effect out of the three effects.

Rating 3.5/5.

Review of Danny Archer’s Essential Magic Classics (2 DVD SET) by Big Blind Media – DVD

2 Dec

Reviewed by Bernard Sim

A 2 DVD set for the price of 1. This DVD is a steal! Unlike the current trend of single trick DVDs, Danny Archer has packed his 2 DVD set with real workers. I have attended Danny Archer’s lecture before, some of the materials in the DVD was taught in the lecture. Seeing these routines again is helping me refresh all the good stuff I forgotten.

These are old school stuff, really good stuffs. The newer magicians may not appreciate such magic but I urge you to take a look at these routines. You won’t see the visual stuffs you see nowadays but you will get to see a real professional sharing his repertoire. All the stuffs in this DVD set are easy to and are even within the grasp of beginners. Don’t let the “simple” routines stop you from investing in this DVD; there are real gems in it. Some of the routines require some gimmicks which can be purchase from any magic shop; some requires you to make them yourself. The routines can be used in any situation; there is even a coin routine that can be used on a stage.

This DVD is highly recommended for the beginners, the table hoppers and even the hobbyist an professionals. There’ll be something you can use in this DVD. Rating 4/5.