Wow! Those are some CUTE pics! If you haven't done so already, check out the new pictures of Paul & Natalie Romhany's new baby on Paul's blog.
I can't express how happy I am for Paul & Natalie, as having a child is certainly something they've wanted for some time. I'm so happy for them!
Of course, me being the sadistic bugger that I am, I gleefully told Paul to expect a lot of sleepless nights.:)
Important Note: Next month's "Cause & Effects" newsletter will feature an important article on how I avoid disaster TWICE at a recent show! It's going to be an important read! If you've not signed up, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One feature I plan on doing from time to time is updating readers on how new effects that I've reviewed are faring in my actual shows. As much as possible I try to review items backed by real world experience, so if I have not really performed the item yet when I review it, I will touch upon my success/lack of success with the item once it finally sees the light of day in terms of performance. I mention all of this because as many of you know, I am not a magic collector. I have nothing against those who are, but I make my living with this stuff, so that's my perspective when I do a review - will it 'fly' in the real world?
With that in mind, here are a few updates....
I've had the opportunity to perform "Shoe Business" and the reactions have been great. This is still the front runner to be my pick for the best release of 2011 (bearing in mind my review column is hardly all-inclusive of new effects)
I also recently performed "Slingshot" and I'm pleased to say the reactions were also good.
In October, at a public show, I'll be debuting Bobby Motta's "Lethal," and Bobby & his wife Alana are coming to the show!! Can you say PRESSURE, LOL?
On to this week's review....it's "Freefall," by Andrew Mayne. It's available for $14.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here's the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=12830
EFFECT: Make bricks, bowling balls, fish bowls even a hot cup of coffee appear from nowhere!
Here's the AD COPY: Make bricks, bowling balls, fish bowls even a hot cup of coffee appear from nowhere!
Andrew Mayne presents his innovative technique for making impossible and unwieldy objects appear from impossible places.
Bowling Ball - An updated handling on Andrew's Bowling Ball from Shopping Bag effect that makes a great show opener or closer. Includes Andrew's new handling and technique that makes this a portable, practical illusion you'll want to make a part of your show.
Brick - Make a heavy brick appear from an empty lunch bag and drop it literally at your audience's feet. This never-seen-before effect allows you to create a huge impact up close or onstage when you produce a real brick under the most challenging conditions.
Fish Bowl - Make a fish bowl appear complete with real fish! Use it as part of an Aerial Fishing routine or use the bowl to produce giveaway items or anything else you want.
Home Brew - This is Andrew's almost impromptu method for making a hot cup of coffee appear. It makes a great ice break or fun effect to do at the coffee house.
Freefall is an easy to perform effect that's almost impromptu in its simplicity. You can use it onstage with a bowling ball or up close with a brick you can leave as a souvenir. It's got multiple applications including one that's right for your show.
WHAT YOU GET: A nicely produced 20 minute DVD.
QUALITY OF DVD: The DVD is well produced, as are most of Andrew's DVDs. It's not a hollywood production, but then it doesn't need to be. The picture and angles are just fine for what Andrew explains.
QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: Andrew is a good teacher and despite my misgivings about many of his effects, I'll be the first to say he teaches his material well. I had zero questions after watching this.
ANGLES: The angles for this are pretty good. If you've got audience members are your sides, you'll need to 'pull back' in terms of where you perform this. I think of the angles are very similar to Kevin James' bowl-A-Rama or a classic Zombie routine with many of the fancier moves.
DIFFICULTY: Freefall is not difficult to perform, but the biggest challenge is your acting ability, acting as though the bag you are picking up is light as a feather. Some of it is in the physical handling while a lot of it is also in your attitude.
MY THOUGHTS: I bought this DVD primarily for my teen shows. For years, my standard opener to most of my teen shows has been the afore-mentioned Bowl-A-Rama and I've been looking for a suitable effect to use for repeat audiences, without much success. (Performers experienced with teen audiences know how discerning this age group can be.)
I prefer to open with a bang, something fast with little or no talking, to quickly establish I am worth paying attention to.
Bowl-A-Rama works great, so I reasoned that Freefall could be the answer I was looking for. With that in mind, I like this DVD but I don't love it. The main reason is because you cannot show the bag empty before the appearance. To me, this is a problem, but I will freely admit I have not yet had the opportunity to actually perform this yet. There's a good chance that it could simply be a matter of my "magician's guilt" or something ike that.
This effect is practical and in particular I really like the fishbowl production and I feel that if any of the effects on the DVD can overcome the one flaw I pointed out, it's that effect, because manipulating water is so magical.
I'll give this a solid 7.5 out of 10. I've been pretty harsh in my distain for a lot of the stuff Mayne has put out, but I feel this has real possibilities. I'll keep you updated.
Until next week, send all questions to: email@example.com