The Unknown DVD - RSVP Mark Bendell, Lee Smith, Gary Jones
The latest DVD project from RSVP is a rather fine piece of work. The quality jumps out at you right from the start with pin-sharp pictures, classy graphics and slick menus. But you want to know about the magic, right? Well the title of "The Unknown" refers to Mark Bendell, a magical genius who is the brains behind these routines. He has spent years pulling together great ideas and this DVD is the ideal way to bring them to the magic world. However Mark keeps in the background and acts as a bit of a secretive Andy Nyman to his two-headed Derren Brown - Lee Smith and Gary Jones. They demonstrate the routines in a real world setting and explain all of the mechanics in a very clear fashion, with input from Mark. If you've seen previous DVDs such as "STEP system" and "iCandy" then you know the quality of explanation you can expect from these two guys. Although they are both hugely talented they have a knack for breaking things down into small understandable steps that everyone apart from the complete novice can follow and learn. None of the magic on this DVD is knuckle-busting and all of it gets great reactions for relatively little effort - what more could you want?!
The DVD starts with "Special K" which is a neat way to turn a simple control and DL into some real magic. Watching from a magician's perspective you'll know exactly what is going on, but that doesn't matter when you see the impact on the spectators. The plot is deliberately slightly confusing to the spec to amplify the effect, watch the DVD to see what I mean. It's a clever way to deliver more magic for every little effort. You can learn this one in five minutes and be out performing it straight away.
PCAAAN is an impromptu "almost ACAAN" using a shuffled deck and a couple of simple moves. Requires a full deck and very minor audience management.
Joker Kickback is another simple routine with a transposition happening when the spectators think the trick is over.
Colour oil and queens takes a classic piece by Roy Walton and adds a great kicker ending. This one needs a bit more technique to achieve but Gary gives clear instructions on all of the moves and the time spent practicing will be well worth it.
Hypno-PSE is a card trick using ESP cards in a novel way to bamboozle the spectator. Again a few simple moves deliver a big impact under the guise of some pseudo-hypnotic influence.
Bag 4 Life - this is the one that everyone's talking about. Lee showed it to me a while back at a lecture and it immediately went into my professional repertoire. It gets absolutely great reactions and is very simple to perform. Lee covers a whole range of subleties to strengthen the effect - this is one that everyone will be doing very soon, it's that good and plays exactly as you've seen on the trailer.
Back to the Future is a version of the FRED trick with extra elements added in to ramp up the effect for minimal effort. It's another great example of taking something simple and maximising the effect.
Kickback Tick Tac uses a "magician in trouble" approach and involves a prediction written on a box of TicTacs that changes from wrong to correct in the spectator's hand. You can even give the TicTacs away afterwards.
Out to Peek is a lovely bit of mindreading using the Out to Lunch principle in the spectator's hands. Very simple, pretty much foolproof and has a great convincer involving the spec's signature. Reading someone's mind doesn't get any easier than this. As always some nice subtleties are included in the explanation.
Predicta-time uses a watch and predicted time. Easy to do if you source a couple of cheap props.
Stand-Up BTwist uses a few cards in a very visual effect with a great ending moment that will really surprise you first time you see it.
Superstition is a sneaky way to get a double prediction for very little work. Bizarrely on the explanation Mark makes a mistake and asks them to cut and reshoot, which they do, but they leave the mistake in rather than cut it from the DVD. Whoops!
Ouija Card rounds things off with a superb routine that gets a huge reaction as a Ouija card magically turns into their selected card. Built around a modified version of "iPhone 10" this is a real fooler that has all of the elements that you want from a great piece of magic. Mark also makes a brilliant suggestion at the end on how to make it even more spooky using a simple gimmick that you probably already own. Perfect for anyone performing "darker" magic. (You get all of the required PDFs included on the DVD)
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