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Review of PEG LEG PETE by Tim Sonefelt

10 Jan

Reviewed by: John Teo
PEG LEG PETE by Tim Sonefelt

Peg Leg Pete is a children’s effect.  A kid’s trick should be visual, has lots of audience participation, colourful and topical.  Peg Leg Pete has all of these.

With the highly successful “Pirates Of The Caribbean” movies, pirates and treasure chests are topical today.

From a pirate ship’s folder, 4 cards are brought out – they comprise 3 pirates and one treasure chest full of treasure.  3 pirates are to guard the treasure.  However, one pirate is due for a break and goes back to the ship (folder).  A child from the audience is chosen as the third pirate to help guard the treasure.  First, he must be able to identify the treasure.  The cards are turned back facing the audience.  The child is given several chances, but he cannot locate the treasure.  Finally, all the cards are turned over and the treasure is gone!  Where did it go?  The ship folder is opened and there is the treasure safe and sound!

The cards are large – they are in A4 size.  The pictures are beautifully drawn and colourful.  The backs of the cards have a picture of a treasure map.  The cards are laminated and should last for many performances.  In addition, you receive 2 extra cards, in case either or both of them are soiled or lost through use.

When the child is up on stage to help you, you can dress him up as a pirate!  A DVD which shows Tim Sonefelt performing and then explaining the effect is included.

A worth-while investment for a topical, participative, colourful and visual children’s effect.  (4.5/5 stars rating)


Review of Pack Flat Illusions for Kids & Family Shows – Book

29 Jul

Reviewed by Bernard Sim

If you were to read Dan Wolfe’s Foreword at the beginning of this book, you won’t need to read this review. I had the honor of reviewing this book before the book was released and I’m glad I had the chance to read this book.

I’ll be frank, I don’t have much experience in illusions and I guess most people who buy this book may not have experience with illusions and are thinking of adding illusions to their gigs. This book’s designs are meant to be easy to grasp and understand so it won’t pose a problem.

There are a total of eight illusions explained in this book. Drawings with dimensions are included to help you visualize the illusions. The size of the illusions ranges from small – production of a stuffed toy to big – production of a child. Some designs are simple and you may even build them yourself.”The Gift Box” is one such illusion. This box allows you to produce anything that is small and light, for eg. a teddy bear which you can give away after the production. The box is easy to construct and you can even use a shoe box for this effect.

Other illusions included can be used to produce the birthday cake or even a birthday child! I can imagine how proud the child would be when other kids asked how did he materialize from the empty box.

Some of the props require a carpenter to fabricate if you don’t have the necessary tools and materials. The carpenter doesn’t need to be experienced in fabricating magic props as J C has included all the necessary drawings and dimensions. The only requirement is for the carpenter to be precise in the measurements as it is important for the illusion to look deceptive.

An assistant is not a must for all these illusions. J C has included performance ideas in this book. He has even included patters in some illusions. Like all his releases, J C has always included the proper credits and history behind each design.

I guess close-up workers will not bother for this book. If you are actively doing kids/ birthday parties shows, it’s about time to upgrade your show with illusions. Your clients will definitely be impressed if you can include illusions in your shows.

Not recommended for the close-up worker but highly recommended for the rest.

Rating 4.5/5

Review of CASH OUT by Will Tsai

17 Aug

Reviewed BY: John Teo

This is a bill change with a difference.  The performer takes out his wallet, opens it and draws a piece of blank paper, the size of a bill, about two-thirds out of the wallet.  The blank paper visually changes into a bill as it is being taken completely out of the wallet.  This bill can then be spent – hence the title of the effect “Cash Out”!

The transformation is visual and instantaneous.  There seems to be no explanation how this can be accomplished.

The trick comes with an instructional DVD – there are no props supplied.

You need to construct a gimmick that seems to be rather involved.  However Will Tsai does an excellent job in showing you how to do it.  My only comment is that he should spend more time in demonstrating and explaining how to load the gimmick into the wallet and how to operate it.  With a few trials yourself, you should be able to find your own method.  This does not deter from the fact that this is an excellent trick.  It is easy to perform and the effect is straight forward and visual.  With a little thinking, it is possible transform a bill of one denomination to another denomination.  However you have to take into consideration the size difference of the 2 bills.  (5/5 stars rating.)

Review of Odd Quad (Cards and DVD) by Fooler Doolers – DVD

12 Aug

Reviewed by: John Teo

My first reaction is:  What? Another packet trick!  Another 4 aces trick!  Another colur changing back packet trick!  But this one is different!  It is different because it has a delightful presentation.

In effect, you say that you never lose in any gambling game.  To illustrate, you take out the 4 aces and have one chosen.  This chosen ace is shown to be the only odd colour back (say blue) because the backs of the other 3 aces are of a different colour (say, red).

What happens if one of the red back aces is chosen instead?  You take out one red back ace, and you show that you still win because the other 3 aces are now shown to be of blue backs!

Actually, you quickly add, it does not matter even if any of the other 2 aces are chosen.  You then turn each of them around to show a yellow and a green back respectively!  This is a quick trick and is very colourful!

The handlings are quite simple.  You get both a printed manuscript as well as a DVD with Daryl performing and explaining the effect.  Daryl also includes a more advanced handling which makes the colour change even more mystifying.  All the necessary cards are supplied.

A quick, fun and colourful packet trick with triple climaxes!  (5/5 stars rating)

Review of PERMANENT by Chris Ballinger

8 Aug

Reviewed by: John Teo

This is a trick using a Sharpie permanent marker.

In effect, you show a permanent Sharpie marker with the brand name “Sharpie” permanently printed on both sides of the pen.  A spectator tries but cannot rub off the ink of the brand name.  You can: you first rub off the Sharpie name on one side of the pen, then on both sides.  You then magically restore the brand name on one side of the marker and hand it out for examination.

A bonus effect is taught in which you can magically “pull” the printed “e” at the end of “Sharpie” to one end of the marker.  The pen can also be handed out for examination.

You are supplied with the instructional DVD and the necessary gimmicks.  Strictly speaking, these are the tools for you to make up the gimmick, not the gimmick itself.  One of the gimmicks is actually a transportation device for the marker.

The instructions are clear and the video is of good quality.  However, there is nothing revolutionary new with the effect.  It makes use of a standard sleight with pen or pencil which most of us would probably already know.  Two other variations of the sleight are also taught.

Two other bonus effects are included.  One is a basic ambitious card routine and another one is a signed coin inside a ball of yarn.  Strictly speaking, these tricks are not part of Permanent.  The marker is simply used to sign the chosen card and the borrowed coin respectively.  The instructions advocate that when you bring out the marker to mark the card or the coin, you then start to perform “Permanent”.  After this, you go right back to the original effect and continue from there.  I feel that the disruption caused by performing “Permanent” does not do justice to the continuation of the original routine.  I prefer to perform “Permanent” as a trick by itself, leave the pen for examination by the spectator, and then go to the ambitious card or the coin routine.  In this case, the spectators get to see two different effects instead of seeing one trick and another one “by-the-way” sort of trick.  The spectator can use the marker to mark the card or coin.

Properly performed, this can have a good effect on the spectators.

(3.5/5 stars rating.)

Review of Spot On by Wayne Dobson & JP Magic

24 Jul

Reviewed by: Guest Reviewer (Red Dot Magic)

A large domino is removed from a vinyl holder. The spots are magnetic and can be freely moved. You claim lots of people think that magic is done with mirrors. As you say this you remove a small mirror from within the holder. The spectator is asked to move the spots and make any domino they like. NO FORCE, no wording etc they move the spots anyway they like.

Let’s assume they make a 4-2 domino. You say you had a prediction made before they chose their domino. I will prove that magicians use mirrors for their tricks. You stand the mirror in front of the domino saying look in the mirror and you will see my prediction.

This always gets a laugh or a groan. They are looking at a reflection of the 4-2 they made. Ok, but I did make a prediction. They turn over the domino and on the other side PRINTED is a 4-2 domino.

Sounds impossible but true, Fits into your pocket, no reset spot on is always SPOT ON.

Easy to do, works every time. Comes with an instructional DVD.


What you will need:

  • Gimmick which is included in the DVD


This is probably one of the easiest trick to perform. I took the gimmick out and figured out how it works before even watching the demo video or instructional video. The instructional video, which is about 5 minutes long, was short and to the point. The instructional video was straight and to the point. It covered only the general handling of the trick, which leaves room for individual creativity.


This trick is compact, easy to do, and resets instantaneously! You can be all set and ready to go with this decent routine literally in MINUTES. The use of the patter on Dominoes, however, might be lost in Asian countries as they are unfamiliar with the term.

I actually reworked the patter and performed it close to 10 times. For something so simple, the reactions I got was actually unbelievable, though not superb. You do not even need to practice to be SPOT ON! (pun intended haha)


Beyond the relatively lousy packaging, Spot On is a routine that is simple to do yet effective. It also teaches a simple magic/mentalism principle that even the most experienced magicians/mentalist employ in their acts. I was brought back to a world where magic was simple and direct, unlike all the elaborate explanations that are emerging now. It was highly refreshing and fun!

Recommended for: Beginners in Magic that need a sure-fire trick!

6.5/10 (Decent Buy)

Review of “oddballs” by Scott Strange

20 Jul

Reviewed by J C Sum.

This is quite a unique DVD that targets a fairly niche market – advanced sponge ball manipulation. I think every close-up magician has dabbled in sponge balls or rabbits at one point in her/ his career. I did it a lot during my days of working restaurants in Shangri-la, Hilton and the Four Seasons in the mid 1990s.

DVD production values are great and Scott is a humourous performer which makes for an entertaining watch. The instructions are very clear so you can learn the moves easily.

The routines are solid but not ground-breakingly different from what is out there. I did not find the techniques terribly advanced. I do think you have to be a serious sponge ball worker to greatly appreciate this DVD.  Sponge balls can be “angley” especially with different coloured balls. I personally think Albert Goshman’s routine is one overlooked one in terms of plot and the fact that 2 different sized balls are used from the start.

If sponge balls are your things, you might find value in this DVD. 3.5 out of 5 stars.