Cris Johnson here, with another fun-filled review and if you're not careful, you just might learn something...
I have no idea what that meant, but it sounded fun, at least.:)
Quick housekkeeping: Thank you to all of you who have purchased my Mother of All Predictions book. Many of you have told me that you've already added it to your act with spectacular results - news like that is gratifying! For the ultimate one-man, ungimmicked audio CD prediction in which you can mail it to a client weeks or MONTHS in advance and predict ANYTHING, check out the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/inc/product_detail.cfm?item=13021
Don't worry if you don't care for the presentation I describe - you can use this system to predict ANYTHING!
Also, I've already received some GREAT feedback on the latest issue of my FREE ezine, "Cause & Effects," and it just went out today! Sign up is FREE! Send an email to email@example.com. The next issue is going to be a lot of fun, as I reveal how the way movie sequels are often created can serve as a blueprint for crafting a magic show for repeat clients. This is going to be my best article yet!!
On to this week's review...Romhany's Multiplying Bottle Routine DVD. It's available from Hocus Pocus for $39.95. Here's the info link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/inc/product_detail.cfm?item=11913
EFFECT: As the magician listens to a mail-order audio CD to learn how to do a magic trick, things go crazy as bottles of alcohol switch places with glasses, multiply and generally create more havoc then the magician can handle.
BACKGROUND: I've been performing the Multiplying Bottles for 15 years. It's a killer effect with big visibility, an easy to understand plot, and no angle considerations...well almost none, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
I will admit that while I fell in love with the effect immediately, I didn't think it would "fool" anyone other than young children. I'm pleased to admit I'm dead wrong, as I often have adults coming up to me after a family show and telling me that the bottles was their favorite effect and they could not figure out where the bottles came from.
THAT will teach me to "think like a magician.":)
My first set was a set of bottles that cost $90 or so. My current set was around $300 from Harries Magic and, since they're getting banged up after 8 years, now I'm thinking of upgrading to those new Extreme MULTIPLYING BOTTLES by Keisuke Hanada They're GORGEOUS!
THE ROUTINE: As mentioned in the ad copy, this is a presentation for a 9-bottle set, though the end of the CD's spoken script is open and "loose" enough that you may be able to do this with a 12-bottle set.
The idea is that with the audio CD coming from a magic company, we, the performers, are being guided through our first performance of a brand new effect. (Only in magic would a presentation like this be accepted - LOL)
This is a really nice alternative to the Vanishing Bandana, pretty much the industry standard for the "play a tape and listen to it as we perform" plot in magic. I've never used the Banadana effect, though I think it's a riot. I turned away from it pretty much for the same reasons as Paul - eveyone's doing it and if you play the CD, there's not a lot you can do to 'make it your own.'
Thus, the classic multiplying bottle routine with an audio CD is a nice way to add an audio CD presentation to your act. It adds texture - audience volunteer effect, speaking solo effect, solo effect set to music and now this - you're creating variety in your act.
WHAT YOU GET: You get the audio CD with two tracks - one male (Paul's voice) and one female (not Paul's voice).
You also get a DVD with a live cruise ship performance by Paul and then a thorough run down of several multiplying bottle tips, such as the kind of table Paul recommends, tips for the kind of glasses or tumblers to use, bottle tips to increase the lifespan of the bottles' labels (I wish I would have thought of this when I first bought my Harries bottles) and tips for the tubes themselves, and this, I have to say, is good advice if you're dealing with audience above you. Many of us don't run into that very often, but it's still good to know.
MY THOUGHTS: First of all, the voices. I like Paul's voice. As he delivers the lines, it seems he was trying to deliver the audio CD lines with a certain snarkiness to them. It fits. The woman delivering the lines seemed to deliver them as though she was explaining the effect to a person who had just been kicked in the back of the head by a mule - she was very deliberate, as though she was talking to an idiot.
Personally I think both tracks work and the fac that each was delivered in a different manner shows you how much vocal tonality can impact the written words. This was a fun discovery in the product.
The vocal clarity is very good and the intro music to each track is hilariously cheesy - I actually started dancing to it, which really cracks my audiences up.
The script itself is funny. Not bust-out loud funny, but pretty funny. A few of the lines used are standard multiplying bottles lines from the famous Ken Brooke routine - good, but hardly original.
Paul does a great job of teaching the physical handling of the routine by running through it many times rom different angles. He's very thorough and cares about his products.
The biggest beef I had with this product is one of timing - it seems, to me at least after around 20 performances, that Paul left too long of a pause between each of the laugh lines. There would be a line, then a laugh from the audience...then what felt like several seconds before the next line. That means, for me at least, I was forced to 'mug' or 'vamp' to kill time til the next line.
It's not a BIG deal, but it's been noticeable to me.
Still the end judgement comes down to how it plays and the fact is that the routine does play well. I'll give this a solid 7 out of 10. It's a very well produced product, gets a good though not great response, and you'll have to probably 'mug' a bit between some of the lines, depending on your audience's response.
I like it and you proably will, too.
Until next week...
Questions? Comments? Requests? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.