Before I get into this week's review, I would like to give a big shout out to the guy who KILLED on America's Got Talent doing a Blindfold Act...unfortunately, I walked in after his introduction and did not catch his name!
For those who did not see it, this young man essentially did John Archer's blindfold act and SLAYED the judges. None of the three had any idea how "it was done" and were completely blown away. I've been performing the Archer blindfold act for about 5 years now and it's in my Top 3 list of the most powerful things I do for an adult audience.
I only hope the performer has something up his sleeve that's just as powerful for his next appearance. America's Got Talent is sometimes pretty rough on magicians. I don't watch the show very often, having sworn off of it when the judges tore into Jay Mattiloi in his second appearance. Nonetheless, I'll be rooting for this guy.
Onto this week's review: Human Phone Number 2.0. It's available from Hocus Pocus for $349.00.
THE EFFECT: A spectator selects a phone number in a normal, unprepared phone book. 8 spectators, who have been holding envelopes, remove the contents of their envelopes, with each spectator holding one number, all in the correct order, forming a Human Phone Number!
WHAT YOU RECEIVE: A complete kit allowing you to reveal a 'human phone number' of just about any number on the planet. You also receive an ebook outlining several ways of accomplishing the effect for different phone books and situations. The ebook also has 4 instructional videos 'embedded' in the book that teach you various steps to construct gimmicks for the routine. Finally, you receive 8 tyvek envelopes for the revelation.
QUALITY OF PROPS: I remember when I bought the older version years ago. I was blown away not only by the quality of the materials used in constructing the signs but also the thought process in why they were made the way they were - matte finish so no worries about glares from stage lights blinding your audience and/or rendering your revelation 'invisible.'
One of my best friends is in the sign industry and I can attest to the quality of the materials. My number signs have traveled all over North America with me both in my car and on airplanes and my kit looks just as pristine and new as the day I bought it.
The fact that Bob has re-designed the number signs to be thinner yet just as durable is a great boost to anyone interested in this routine.
QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: The ebook (written by Michael Close) does a great job detailing several different ways of accomplishing the routine, giving the buyer multiple ways of doing 'the work' to get to the result. Additionally, alternate ways of revealing the phone number NOT involving the enclosed number cards are discussed as well, meaning you can do the routine for close up formal presentations, too.
Bob has really made this routine accessible to any one with any phone book.
MY THOUGHTS: As I mentioned, I have performed HPN for years now and it always kills. I haven't always closed with it, electing at times to do it second to last, but in any event, it really does bring down the house.
I will also offer my own thoughts on Bob's choice of not carrying a phone book to a gig, preferring instead to use whatever book he finds in his hotel room. It's certainly a valid approach and one that makes everything seem so fair - "Wow, and he did it with OUR phone book!" - but first of all, I don't want to create a new gimmick for each phone book I encounter...I'm just too lazy. (Even though there are essentially gimmickless versions of the routine in the book, I prefer to use the same physical handling at every show due to comfort, muscle memory, etc.)
Additionally, I got to two gigs and the venue literally did NOT have ANY phone book! I was baffled by this and ultimately had to go find a phone book next door!
My advice to potential buyers is to be prepared - carry your phone book with you, but if you get to your venue and a phone book is available and you don't mind doing so, by all means, prepare yourself in whatever fashion you like to use the venue's phone book.
RATING: This was my first Bob Kohler purchase and was not my last by any means. This gets my highest recommendation. I'm almost sad to see it come back as I liked the fact I was performing something that many people wanted yet could not access.:) 10 out of 10.