Before I get into this week's review, I want to 'flashback' to a few effects I've reviewed previously and let everyone know how my opinions of the these effects have held up (or not) as I continue to use them in my professional work...
Peter Loughran's Electronic Flashbox: When I initially reviewed this item, I had only performed it twice but the reactions were incredible. This week I've been performing it all week, two schools a day, two shows per school, so this thing has really got an intense workout at my schools this week. After all of these performances, I am even more convinced this is one of the best things I've purchased in a long time!
Triangle of Terror by Keith Fields: Like the flashbox above, this beauty has really got a workout this week and the reactions are astonishing - screams, and then spontaneous applause by kids and adults. Great concept for a routine!
Freefall by Andrew Mayne: I gave this a favorable review when I wrote it up but at that time I had not performed it yet. As longtime readers of my blog know, I am not impressed with most of the things I've seen from Mayne. However, after performing Freefall 15 times this week for audiences of around 300 kids at a time, I can say that Freefall, in my opinion, is one of the best things Mayne has put out. This series of schools had already seen my other opening effects in previous shows (Bowl-A-Rama and my Parasol Act) so I needed a new opener for these schools. Freefall is amazing and can definitely move into my "A" material.
On to this week's review - it's Martin Lewis' Hathaway Card Rise. It's available for $195 from Hocus Pocus.
Here's the ad copy:
Hathaway's remarkable contribution to the rising cards trick has become a classic of its genre. This astonishing effect is not only deceptive and practical but highly visible too, making it most effective for stage or parlor presentation.
Three cards rise up from an examined jumbo deck which is inside a clear houlette suspended on ribbons held by you and a spectator - under seemingly impossible conditions - yet totally under your control. The self-contained apparatus is both sturdy and attractive and built to Martin Lewis' exacting standards. This is the quality you have come to expect from Martin's Magikraft Studios.
Included is an instructional DVD by Martin Lewis, showing a live performance for an audience of 700. Martin explains in his clear and informative manner the working details and variations which "sell" the effect to the audience. And he should know, the trick having been in his act for over 30 years.
WHAT YOU GET: You get the card holder itself (with gimmicks), plus a jumbo deck of playing cards and an instructional DVD.
QUALITY OF EQUIPMENT: I've been using mine off and on for around 5 years and everything has held up great. My stuff looks brand new.
QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: Martin Lewis really is one of magic's great creators and teachers. While the Card Rise concept is not original with Lewis, he's really modernized it for today's performers. He teaches many subtle aspects of the effect including routining, pacing, handling and more. He also covers the hows and whys of altering the revelations as by the time the third card rises, the audience knows what to expect and are no longer amazed. Some of Lewis' suggestions in that regard are truly inspired. Truly a joy. Also, the DVD includes a live performance of Martin doing the routine on a cruise ship in front of several hundred spectators - always a convincer to guys like me!
ANGLES: This routine is terrific and if you alter the final card (three cards rise), then you could do this surrounded. If you do the third card rise as Martin does, you cannot have anyone directly behind you. The point is, you have options.
AGES: I have performed this in both family shows where the audience ranges 2 - 90 in age and as I currently do it now, I primarily perform it for grades 3 - 5. It slays audiences each time.
MY THOUGHTS: The reason I'm reviewing this (it's hardly a new release) is for two reasons: one, I've been performing it all week for a specific themed show so it's fresh on my mind and two, I really feel that many magicians out there are always chasing after the latest new thing. So often we forget all of the great magic that's been out for a while.
Besides the fact that the work during performance is drop dead easy, I really appreciate the fact that this effect includes multiple revelations - in other words, because three cards rise, there are multiple points of astonishment.
This is highly visual magic at its very best,. We should all thank our lucky stars that folks like Martin Lewis have decided to share their work with us. An unbelievable value and well worth the investment.
10 out of 10.