Unquestionably, one of the strongest mentalism effects in existence is the classic Q&A routine. When performed well it can create the impression that the performer is actually able to read minds. When the entire audience ”thinks” of details about their own lives and the mentalist begins to read them, you can be sure that everyone will be on the edge of their seats. The performer isn’t just revealing the name of a playing card or a word picked out of a book, these revelations are of an extremely personal nature.
There are many methods to accomplishing this effect. While I’ve studied a few, I don’t claim to know them all. I do know enough about the history of the plot to recognize the things that I don’t like about many of the methods. Luke’s version contains none of these issues.
- The routine is self-contained.
- It is a one-man effect (no assistants needed).
- The routine happens in real time (no pre-show work).
- The use of the billets is justified.
Here’s the ad copy:
Luke Jermay has performed his Questions & Answers routine throughout the world, including a two-year run on the Las Vegas Strip. “The Three Types” is the result of years of experimentation to create a powerful Q&A routine that could be performed in any environment with very little setup.
The most important aspect of “The Three Types,” though, is not it’s practicality, but the clever concept of “invisible billets” that lies beneath it. With a topical presentation surrounding personality tests (as made popular by websites and magazines), Luke has discovered techniques to reveal information that could apparently have never come from the brief information that the participants provide.
“The Three Types” is a triumph of careful routining and presentation, clever construction and classical methodology. Whether you’ve never performed a Q&A routine before or are looking for a contemporary, practical presentation for an existing routine, this complete ten-minute act is for you.
First, a few caveats.
Number 1- This is not the routine that Luke used in his Vegas act. He mentions in the book that the routine he uses in theatrical performances is much more involved and is not suitable for most environments. The Three Types is Luke’s solution for a powerful Q&A routine that may be performed almost anywhere.
Number 2- If you are not an experienced performer, you will really have to work to make this routine entertaining. With most magic you can use the trick itself to drive the momentum forward (i.e. Ambitious Card). In the case of a Q&A routine, however, the pacing and flow of the routine is completely controlled by you. There are no real props to hide behind. As a result, you will really have to work on the presentation in order to make this effect pay off for you.
Number 3- This is a professional routine. You need to know what you’re getting into. If you only ever perform magic for friends and family or for a few strangers in a close up setting, this routine won’t be of much use to you. It requires an audience of people who you do not know well personally. If you reveal your brother’s thought-of card, you’re sure to get a reaction. If you tell him the name of his childhood pet, on the other hand, you’ll likely not impress anyone.
Let’s talk about what you get for your money. The book is nicely produced (it was produced by Vanishing Inc, after all) and checks in at 50 pages. You also receive a stack of Personality Test cards that allow you to begin performing the routine immediately. If you need more, you can download the PDF version from their website to print more on your own. The book is broken up into sections: Setup, Preparation Phases, Switches, etc. This is helpful since there is so much going on in the routine.
Everything is explained clearly although it may take a couple of read throughs to make sure it all sinks in. There is only a minimal amount of sleight of hand involved. If you can hold something in finger palm, you’ll have no issues. The memory work is also pretty minimal although you will want to make sure you have the procedure down cold so you can focus completely on the presentation.
Overall, I was very impressed with Luke’s thinking and the routine itself. My only gripe (and it is a fairly big one) has to do with one of the “thoughts” that Luke reads from an audience member. In short, to close the readings section of the performance, he correctly tells a spectator the last time he had sex! I’m not sure about the audiences you perform for, but I can’t imagine many scenarios where I would feel comfortable bringing this up in a paid performance. I’m not saying that that it will never be appropriate, but it certainly depends on the personalities and venue in play. That being said, the routine can be easily tweaked if you wanted to omit this question from the readings altogether.
Billet routines that allow the mentalist to read personal thoughts from the audience have been around forever. However, Luke’s ideas make the billets “psychologically invisible” to the audience. With most billet work, it is at least conceivable that if the performer could have somehow secretly glimpsed the information, he could have revealed the information. With The Three Types this type of thinking is completely cancelled out.
For those looking at adding at Q&A routine to their mentalism performances, The Three Types is worthy of your study.
-Available for $25 from Vanishing Inc. Magic