I’ve always been a sucker for mentalism. While I don’t perform a lot of serious mind reading in my own shows (primarily because it doesn’t fit my personality), I do consider myself to be a student of the art. Mentalism, when performed well, can be absolutely captivating. Unfortunately, when performed poorly (or even just adequately), it can be like watching paint dry. I have never seen Luca Volpe perform, but after reading his e-book, I imagine that he would belong in the first category.
Here’s what the ad says…
This manuscript contains Luca Volpe’s best stage routine, but pay attention as it is NOT just a simple chair prediction routine, this is a COMPLETE ACT of 8 minutes that will leave your audience blown away!
A multi-phase routine with an incredible crescendo of random sequence predictions.
We will not describe the effect here as it is so well conceived and well structured that you need to read the manuscript to believe it. The only thing that we will say is that you don’t use N.W. or anything like that, the envelopes genuinely have the numbers printed on them and it involves a method so bold that I am sure you will love it.
Luca Volpe has for the majority of the time performed this as a stand alone piece for TV guest appearances or corporate events because it is so strong that you can’t do anything else after it.
So, if you want to ‘kill’ your audience with a strong multi-phase stage chair routine and get a standing ovation, this is the chance to get your hands on the manuscript.
In the manuscript you will find not only the routine and the method but all of the script and bonus tips to enhance your performance. The ultimate chair test routine act includes a serial number revelation connected with a combination lock routine. A four chair prediction in which the spectators choose envelopes with printed numbers – a bold method is used. For the finale you are also able to predict what one of the chair test spectators will be wearing and give him a descriptive prediction of his personality. And much more…!
To understand whether or not this is something that you would actually perform, I want to give you a clear vision of the effect as seen by the audience. The magician borrows a bill from a volunteer. The bill is isolated in an envelope which is then held by the participant. Four spectators are called to the stage and are asked to sit in any one of four folding chairs. The performer introduces a small box closed with a combination lock. It remains in full view throughout the routine.
The original participant mixes up four envelopes labeled one through four. The envelopes are held with the numbers facing down and each member of the group selects one. The performer introduces a clear bag containing four colored scrunched up paper balls. Each spectator chooses one. Everything seems completely random at this point. The spectators have each randomly chosen a seat, an envelope, and a colored paper ball.
Now, the spectator with the bill reads the last four numbers of the serial number. He enters them into the combination lock; the box opens. Inside is an envelope which the volunteer is instructed to hold but not to open just yet. The four seated spectators open their envelopes. In each one is an ESP symbol. One by one they are instructed to fold their chairs to show the audience what is underneath their seats. In each instance, their freely chosen ESP symbol matches a symbol under their chair.
The prediction is now opened. It perfectly predicts the order of the envelopes, the ESP symbols, and even the full serial number to the borrowed bill. Finally, the prediction talks about “the person who chose the blue paper ball.” It describes a little about his personality as well as the exact clothes he is wearing.
While, of course, there is a trick to the proceedings, the effect looks very clean from the audience’s perspective. The method is very practical. The routine as described requires the use of an off stage assistant. However, in the bonus section, several alternatives are outlined which eliminate the need for a helper. None of these alternatives are any weaker in effect, so I cannot imagine anyone would ever perform this using the assistant method.
Regarding the method(s), I think most performers will find the techniques used to be within their comfort level. The routine is technically easy to do. There are no real moves or mental calculations to learn; the work will come in building the presentation. The author mentions more than once how BOLD the method is. In fact, he calls it his “BOLD DIRECT MOVE.” The “move” he refers to (if you can call it that) is not original to the author. I have seen the idea used before both in and out of mentalism. In fact, Roberto Giobbi teaches it on one of his lecture DVDs. That being said, the idea is used to great effect in this routine.
The ad mentions that this is a complete act of 8 minutes. While the routine may take that long to perform, the majority of the time is spent by volunteers making supposedly random decisions. Only in the final minute or two does any real effect begin to occur. This is not a negative for a performer with the presentational abilities to hold an audience’s attention during the time building up to the final prediction. However, an inexperienced performer may find difficulty in holding the audience’s interest.
Most of the props required can be purchased at your local office supply store: envelopes, card stock, colored paper, etc. There are only a couple of “magic” props to speak of, and you probably already have access to them. If you don’t, they may be obtained inexpensively. You will also have to find a box to hold the prediction as well as an ungimmicked combination lock. So, there will be some investment besides the cost of the e-book.
The teaching in the manuscript is sufficient as there is not much in the way of secret sleight of hand to explain. It is obvious that English is not Luca’s first language, but you should have no problem learning the routine. The e-book checks in at 23 pages, but only about 15 of them are used to teach the routine. The others are taken up by advertisments, quotes, etc.
For most of you, the biggest obstacle to purchasing this will be the price. I see where you’re coming from: $40 for a small e-book is a pretty high price to pay. If you’re a working pro who may actually use this in your act, the cost is quite reasonable. If, however, you are fairly new to mentalism, you would be much better served by picking up a book or DVD that will give you more bang for your buck. This routine is not meant for the casual hobbyist looking to learn new concepts. The value here is in the routining of existing concepts for use in front of real audiences.
Recommended (for workers)