Rubix Square is a bit pricey at $45, but when a working pro releases something from his act, I always take notice. Take a look at the detailed product description over at Lybrary.com. Go ahead. I’ll wait. [Click here for description]
If there was ever a customer for which this product was aimed at, I’d definitely be it. I love mathematical effects, I solve a Rubik’s Cube on an almost daily basis, and I feature a magic square in my current act. So, when I found out that there was a routine on the market from a well-known performer that mixed all of these elements, I couldn’t believe it. I think I do a pretty good job of keeping up with the latest and greatest releases in magic. Why wasn’t I aware of this routine?
Well, now I’ve read the eBook… and I know why I hadn’t heard of this.
It isn’t good.
The PDF check in at only 12 pages. This includes the cover page and copyright info. Yes, you are paying $45 for a 10 page document. Ok, ok. So what about the old saying that “great things come in small packages?” Well, unfortunately, it doesn’t apply here. The relatively little value you are recieving is in the idea for the routine itself… and you just got that for free by reading the description.
The execution of the routine is what leaves a lot to be desired. First of all, if you read the description and came up with a simple method on your own, chances are that you’re right. This is exactly what you think it is. There’s nothing revolutionary going on here. Not every new effect released needs to be revolutionary, but it does need to break new ground in terms of method, routine construction, presentation, etc.
Unfortunately, all Luke has done here is to combine two ideas into one. The result is a sum that is not greater than the sum of its parts. The two effects are similar from a “look what I’ve trained by brain to do” point of view, but the combination comes off as confusing. A 4 x 4 grid is filled in with numbers in order to help the performer solve a 3 x 3 cube. At worst, the audience won’t have a clue what’s going on. At best, the premise seems forced. Neither case is optimal when attempting to entertain a group of people.
I could forgive some of this and simply classify this as another overpriced mentalism release if it weren’t for my final complaint… THE TRICK DOESN’T WORK. That’s right. The description for how to turn the Rubik’s Cube is wrong. And if you don’t know you’re way around a Rubik’s Cube, you won’t have a way to compensate for Luke’s mistake. You’ll just be out of luck.
Like I said before: I play with a Rubik’s Cube constantly as a way to relieve stress and to keep my mind sharp. I’ve reread the description multiple times with my cube in hand. It doesn’t work. Even if it did, the description would be incorrect as there are no instructions on whether to turn the layers in a clockwise or counterclockwise manner. There is also no mention of which axis you’re supposed to rotate the cube around when flipping it over. I can understand a typo in a major work, but there is no excuse for a FUNDAMENTAL part of the routine to be described incorrectly in a 10 page document.
The basic components of a good routine are here, and I’m sure someone could turn this into a nice performance piece with a solid presentation. However, any way you slice it, the routine is WAY overpriced in it’s current form… especially for a description that simply doesn’t work. For $45 this is unacceptable. Don’t waste your money.
- Available for $45 from www.Lybrary.com
In college, I used to get a TON of mileage out of the old key card trick where you supposedly feel the pulse of the spectator as you run their finger over a spread of cards looking for a selection. I never performed it in my professional work, but I used the effect in casual situations quite often. It never failed to recieve strong reactions. Oftentimes, I would be forced to repeat the effect as someone watching would want me to try it on them. They would swear that they would be able to control their body to prevent me from obtaining any clues.
I mention this as an introduction to this review, because Sense-ational reminds me a lot of the pulse effect. It gets its strength from the fact that spectators buy into the premise. No cards change places, vanish, or magically rise to the top of the pack. Instead the focus is on the simple impossibility of it all. Take a look at the demo HERE.
I don’t know about you, but I was fooled badly. It turns out I’m not the only one. Ryan has fooled some top magicians with this effect. Laymen won’t have a chance. The routine is nicely constructed with a sloppy, casual handling that makes the whole thing seem even more baffling. Each phase builds upon the previous one ending with a revelation of a thought-of card that is very satisfying both in effect and method.
There are many different subtleties and principles at work that allow for such a free feel to the presentation. While no individual idea is completely new, Ryan has combined them in a way that maximizes the potential of each component. There are many layers of deception between the effect and the actual method.
The explanation video runs for a little less than 10 minutes, but everything is taught clearly. There is a setup involved, but it is easily accomplished in a just a few seconds alone with the deck. Those familiar with various culling techniques could even set this up in front of the audience. The difficulty is very easy as there is virtually nothing in the way of sleight of hand. However, one will want to practice the presentation to make sure everything flows smoothly.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about the trick. The method is clever, the effect is fooling, and the presentation is compelling. If you liked what you saw in the demo, you’ll be very pleased with what you’re getting here.
- Available for $10 from Vanishing Inc. Magic
I’ll be teaching some of my favorite effects. I’ll also be sharing a link to a very special lecture package available only to those who watch online. The best part is that attending this online lecture is COMPLETELY FREE!
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Chair Test ebooks are a popular thing in magic these days. Much like “Any Card At Any Number” and “Torn and Restored Card,” it seems as if everybody has their own version. TC Tahoe details his work on the plot in this short 15 page PDF. While many routines in this genre are complicated and convoluted, TC’s presentation is as direct as it gets.
1. Three volunteers sit on any of three chairs at random.
2. Each participant randomly selects a colored slip of paper.
3. The colors they choose match the colors on the back of their chairs.
Boom-Boom-Boom. There are a few extra bits of business thrown into the presentation, but the effect is as simple as that. Like other routines in this genre, getting three participants on stage for this quick effect may seem a bit clunky. It’s best if you can use at least one of them for a follow-up routine. This helps keep the show moving at a brisk pace and allows you to select the person that you feel would be best after having the change to observe them on stage for a few moments.
The method is also extremely direct. So direct, in fact, that I could describe the method in three words… I won’t do that here. Suffice it to say that if you saw TC perform this in his show, you would not be fooled in any way. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. You wouldn’t be fooled by him performing the Invisible Deck either, but we all know that it kills laymen.
The routine will require you to purchase (or create) a specific prop that may be hard to come by. There’s a good chance that you have a version of it already in your collection, but to perform the routine exactly as written, you may have to do some searching. I tried finding the prop online to no success. You could make one on your own relatively easily if you had access to the right materials.
There is a second routine explained in the eBook as well, but it suffers from a fundamental flaw that renders it almost completely useless. The effect is simple. Two chairs are on stage with an envelope on each one. You ask the participant to select a chair for himself leaving one for you. The envelopes are opened. The participant removes a slip of paper from his envelope; it has “YOURS” printed in big bold letters. You open your envelope to reveal a paper that says “MINE.”
While the use of “YOURS” and “MINE” lends itself to a cute presentation, it also has the possibility of confusing the audience. It’s not that much of a stretch to see how the performer could have used these same words to interpret the spectator’s choice in another way if the situation were reversed. While this isn’t the method used, if the audience thinks this is how the effect could have been accomplished, all has been lost. To be fair, you could use TC’s method to reveal the volunteer’s name and the magician’s name on the papers. However, this would require you to know their name in advance.
Both routines in the eBook are taught clearly. However, a few misspellings, missing words, and grammar mistakes are present throughout the document. There are at least two sentences that make no sense when reading them. In a publication of this size, there is absolutely no excuse for this. One proofreader would have found most of these mistakes on the first read through. While they won’t impair your ability to learn the workings of either routine, they are certainly frustrating.
Overall, while there’s nothing innovative here in terms of method or presentation, it is a fine way to perform a chair test. If you’re looking for one to add to your act and want to find a routine that is direct, packs flat, and is easy to do, I think you’ll enjoy what TC has to offer.
- Available for $15 from www.Lybrary.com
Some of you may have seen Richard Kaufman announce in the most recent issue of Genii magazine that I