Friday, November 4, 2011

My Little Dogs, The Impossible Box and REVIEW: Mes(s)merize

Hi All,

Crazy busy this week. Isn't that how I start all my blog entries??

I do have to say, however, that most of November involves me working fairly close to home, which is great for my relationship with my family: namely my wife and our two little dogs, Frodo & Sophie. Frodo is a 17-lb "cock-a-poo" and Sophie is an 8=lb Bichon, but my friend Rodney said she looks like a cross between a hamster and a poodle, so my wife & I call Sophie our "hoodle!" They've missed me and it's great to spend time with them - the hoodle is stepping on my keyboard.:)

My buddy Paul Romhany sent me a couple of video clips of his new Impossible Box release that his associate has been performing for a looooooong time. This baby looks like one of the best new releases of 2011 in my eyes. Check out Paul's blog to check out the video. (And this looks like a real-world worker as I'm guessing those arm chair magicians from "that forum" will whine and cry, but I think the presentational possibilities are endless!)

On to the review....Mes(s)merize!

Here's the link:

It's available for $30 from Hocus Pocus.

AD COPY: An impossible prediction effect

A clear wine glass is seen on a table center stage, containing a black envelope with a prediction. The spectators are asked to concentrate on a single thought, write it down on a card and seal it in an opaque envelope. At your command, they all throw their envelopes onto the stage. A random spectator selects any one of the envelopes (again: NO force!). Let's assume the thought inside reads "ICECREAM". She removes the prediction from the glass and opens it. She reads the prediction out loud: it matches the freely selected thought!

Now for the FINAL kicker: The lady is asked to open up the crumpled paper ball that was used to randomly selected her as a volunteer. It reads: "Tonight, a beautiful lady called Annie will thing of ICECREAM!"

*The spectator is randomly selected
*No switch of the paper ball
*No stooges
*No secret Assistants
*No pre-show
*No fumbling
*No sleeving
*No electronics
*They can really write down any thought
*The other envelopes all contain different words
*Spectator opens and reads the prediction herself
*Prediction and envelope, both are completely unprepared

"Brilliant and clever indeed... this gentleman has forged a total masterpiece."
- Larry Becker

"I think it's terrific prediction, and I love the final punch-finish. Clever and very practical."
- Peter Duffie

"It's perfect. The method is wonderfully simple and direct and I image it plays extremely well. I give it my highest recommendation."
- Sean Waters

"Brilliant, yet, simple, the only way to do it."
- Marc Salem

Pages: 42 - Saddle Stitched

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: a 42-page, saddle stitched booklet.

QUALITY: Very good, here. There are plenty of photos to assist the learner and the instructions are clearly written. You'll have no problem understanding the mechanics of the effect.

ANGLES: Quite good. You can do this in living rooms, on stage or parlor situations.

DIFFICULTY: This effect primarily relies on a very simple move that is properly motivated by good blocking. Stefan has thought this through.

MY THOUGHTS: I like this but I don't love this. When thinking about the impossibility of the ad copy, the fact that the spectators really do write down any thought, the fact that there's no pre-show. etc, and most of that is true, the fact is that the "prediction" envelope being claimed as not being prepared is not entirely true. To be sure, the preparation is not hard and only takes a few moments, and therefore can almost be done at a moment's notice.

All of this is juicy for a good effect and the visual of the audience flinging their envelopes at the performer is very appealing to me in terms of theatricality.

This is all good stuff for the main prediction effect, now let's move for a moment to the kicker part of the effect, the bit where the ball of paper describes the revelation as well as the name of the randomly selected volunteer.

The kicker's method actually has TWO methods. The first is a gutsy, ballsy classic "method" of mentalism that many pros will recognize and embrace. It's also a method that magicians looking to add a mental flavor to their acts will likely reject as being, in Eugene Burger's words, "Not very interesting." It's a reliable method that requires intestinal fortitude.

The second method is something that Stefan refers you to another source, which I always find a little annoying.

He also includes several bonus ideas and routine frames to get your creative juices flowing and this is nice.

FINAL THOUGHTS: There's not a lot I can talk about in this review about the product without tipping the work. The method for the "main" revelation is rock-solid while the method for the kicker is something I'm guessing many will reject. the idea of referring the reader to another source may turn off some readers. Still, the routine has that great visual of all the envelopes being thrown on stage and the elegant simplicity of the glass with the prediction envelope will look great in terms of staging.

I think this is a good effect, worth consideration. I'll give this a 7.5 out of 10.

Until next time...



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