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Sven Pro Deck – Invictus Magic – A Review

Sven Pro Deck – Invictus Magic – A Review

SVEN PRO Deck –  Invictus Magic – A Review

Suit&Tie Magic kicks off their world-wide product debut by perfecting a classic in card magic! Presenting the Sven Pro! The gimmicked deck like you’ve never seen it before!

It’s difficult to reinvent a classic–especially one as solid as the Svengali deck–but teaming up with Invictus Magic, Suit&Tie has done it! Delivering the world’s smallest cut (to date) in this type of deck!

Expertly crafted with the working magician in mind, these cards are precision-cut to bring magicians the Svengali deck the way it was meant to be made.

Suitable for beginners and professionals alike, these decks boast the best handling on the market! … And did we mention that they handle sideways, too?!

Includes:

– Professional-grade Svengali deck
– Full step-by-step instructions, from the very basic handlings to advanced routines
– Mind Reading Effect
– Prediction Effect
– Card to Impossible Location
– Ambitious Card with Variations
– Acaan
– Svenwich
– Finger Tip Change (Our Favorite)

My Thoughts:

I’ve been a fan of Svengali decks since… a long time ago. I’m sure many of you bought one near the beginning of your careers, played with it for a while, and then let it slide to the bottom of your junk drawer. I think now one of the main reasons for that happening is we realized you had to perform magic with Bicycle decks, probably rider backs, and these Svengali decks, bridge sized and cheaply made, didn’t fit the bill. I know that was my case.

That said.. I have bought a Bicycle brand Svengali deck or two through the years and, although they felt much better than my earlier decks, I still relegated them to someplace outside my happy place.. ne’er to be used in actual performances.

That’s sad… because the concept is a good one, and you would think someone, somewhere, would create a solid Svengali deck.. one knowledgeable magicians would actually want to use.

SVEN PRO, by Invictus Magic, is THAT deck. Seriously..

Magicians are a picky bunch. There are always a few though who lead the way, and dictate what the majority wants.. or thinks they want. I wish one of the influencers would push the Svengali deck as the next great advent in magic, but it’s not going to happen. What IS going to happen though.. is.. a smart, talented group of performers will buy this deck, master an array of effects not possible with conventional decks, and fool the dickens out of magicians and lay folks alike who do not understand the possibilities of this classic deck.

One of the reasons for this is the care and skill that goes into creating each deck of Sven Pro. Unlike the older decks we’re accustomed to, Suit& Tie Magic, the developers, carefully cut each short card thinner than traditional cards.. and then rounded the edges to make them match the ungaffed cards. When aligned in a deck, you cannot notice the different lengths… at least not during normal use and typical handling.

The other reason, aside from the micro-cut of the short side of the card, is the micro-cut of the LONG side of the gaff cards. Imagine being able to cut the deck from the top OR the side. Imagine being able to dribble the cards. Imagine being able to riffle shuffle the cards or let the spectator freely cut the cards, from any angle. Now your repertoire is greatly enhanced, and one of the major drawbacks of ‘conventional’ svengali decks, the awkward handling, has been eliminated.

Before writing this review I spent about a week informally handling the Sven Pro deck. I sat in my favorite chair and cut, and cut, and cut.. top cuts and side cuts, to see if the shorter cuts affected the outcome. It didn’t. I fanned them, spread them, riffled them and dribbled them.. looking to find that weak point that made a liar out of the ad copy. Again… I didn’t. What can I say?

The one drawback of the svengali deck has always been that it could not be freely examined. I think that one fact alone prevents more magicians from using it than any other. Suit & Tie Magic includes a twenty-five minute instructional video with each deck that includes careful instructions for fanning, shuffling, and spreading the deck to prevent the spectator from feeling a need to manhandle the deck. The video is posted on the Invictus site and you do not have to download it. The url is provided inside the deck packaging wrapper. You won’t learn everything you need to know.. but you WILL learn enough to whet your appetite and send you on a little search for more in-depth info. Now would be a good time to go to Google and search for ‘svengali deck tutorial’ and you should find a couple of good instructional videos. (Magic Makers and Daryl have both made in-depth videos solely teaching effects with svengali decks..)

The instructions are good, considering the overall cost of Sven Pro is less than twenty dollars. Remember, this is a deck that has to be created by hand in a very time-consuming way. I have NO problems with the price, the deck itself, or the quality of the instructions. All effects are taught by Brandon Williams, a very likable and talented guy, and I appreciated the extra efforts put into the video instructions. They didn’t have to.. but they did.. so there…

I want to make one suggestion of my own… Find ways to incorporate the svengali deck into routines with standard decks. You don’t have to pull a hidden deck switch; keep it all out in the open. I usually have three decks on the table when I perform, if space allows, and I’ll tell anyone asking ‘why’ that each deck handles differently and I want to be as professional as possible. Each deck DOES handle differently, so I can say that with confidence.

I will use this deck. I will find ways to incorporate it into routines with conventional decks. I will surprise a few nimble minds who should know better, and I’ll leave them confounded.. and I ain’t telling them nothing… This Svengali Pro thing.. it’s going to be my little secret.

$19.95 From Murphy’s Magic and Dealers who carry their line of products.
https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=63255

Review by Rick Carruth

DERREN BROWN SECRET – A Review

DERREN BROWN SECRET – A Review

Derren Brown SECRET – A Review

By Rick Carruth

Derren Brown’s latest, and perhaps greatest, show just opened on Broadway. I have watched many of his tv specials, originating from the UK, and read several of his published works.. so.. when I was invited to attend a pre-opening show at the Cort Theater in New York, I couldn’t resist..

My wife and I were met at the theater by his publicist and given our press passes. Thankfully, we were seated about seven rows from the stage, so we had an excellent vantage point to watch a performer at his peak. I say that because in 2017 Derren finished a run at the Atlantic Theater Company, performing each show to a sold-out audience. This show was the same show performed in 2017, except on Broadway.. and to a much larger audience.

Written and directed by Andy Nyman and Andrew O’Connor, with writing by Derren as well, the show certainly featured a proven trio of both actors, directors, and writers. All are highly respected actors and award winners. SECRET is produced by J.J. Abrams, ( Regarding Henry, Forever Young, Armageddon, Cloverfield, Star Trek, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Thomas Kail and Jeffrey Seller of the wildly popular ‘Hamilton’.

Derren frequently calls himself a “psychological illusionist,” and accomplishes his feats with a combination of mind reading, persuasion, and psychological illusion. He prefers to tell the audience most of what he accomplishes is through the art of muscle reading, gesture interpretation, and subliminal suggestions, among other non-psychic feats. He does not claim to be psychic.

I particularly enjoyed watching and listening to the audience as the show progressed. I could hear the whispers and profound theories. Being a fair to middling proponent of magic and mentalism, I had a distinct advantage over most of my neighbors, and yet I was thoroughly entertained throughout the show.

Derren performed a classic array of effects. A couple were effects you might be familiar with; adapted to the stage.. and a couple more were large scale effects designed for a big audience and utilizing several audience members at once. One I recognized as a card effect he changed to use with various photos of audience members.. and another segment, about 20 minutes, entailed Derren interacting with various audience members, giving mini-psychic readings, disclosing facts about their lives he couldn’t reasonably know. Everything ended with the two best effects of the night… his famous ‘drawing’ effect and a grand finale that served one surprise after another, ending with THE SURPRISE.

The audience is ‘sort of..’ sworn to secrecy.. to preserve the integrity of the show for those to follow.. so I don’t think I can be too specific. I did recognize a couple of the earlier effects in the show as being effects I had seen performed on videos. That said.. it didn’t matter. I was involved in watching how he handled the audience, how he spoke to the audience and ‘explained’ some of the supposed psychological nuiances he employed, and how he avoided ‘patter’.

The latter was important to me. It takes a special skill to make an entire show appear as if you’re performing it ‘off the cuff’.. but with special skill and handling. That is a very difficult combination.. and demonstrates a level of professionalism achievable by only a handful of performers.

What I’m saying is… Derren Brown is one of those performers. He is a pro is every sense of the word. And his show is as good as any mentalism type show you will ever attend. If you’re like me.. you missed the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Dunninger, Scarne and Harry Blackstone… Do yourself a favor and DON’T miss Derren Brown..

https://youtu.be/5CD_eTmLaV4

Sweet Simplicity – John Carey – A Review

Sweet Simplicity – John Carey – A Review

Sweet Simplicity – John Carey – A Review

Rick Carruth

John Carey and BIGBLINDMEDIA present Sweet Simplicity, a collection of mostly self-working card tricks for those of us who enjoy such indulgences.. The Ad Copy reads:

John Carey has built an international reputation for his streamlined approach to card magic. Simplicity of method and great routining equals great magic that is EASY to do BUT still utterly fooling! On Sweet Simplicity you’ll find ten self working or super easy to do card tricks that will slay any audience. Simple to perform they may be – but the effect on your audience will be KNOCKOUT!

FEATURING:

1 in 52 – Carey’s self working streamlined imaginary deck routine is a total worker.

The trick that can be explained – Carey’s spin on a Dai Vernon classic. Devious!

Technicolor Reset – Four blue backed Jokers transpose in slow motion with four red backed Jokers in an exceptionally clean manner and then immediately transpose back in a flash!

Five Oh?! – Semi automatic card magic on steroids, where you get five effects from practically nothing. Super strong and so much fun!

The Perception Shuffle – A self working false shuffle. Yes, you read that right!

Spectator Star – Make your spectator the star as they shuffle, cut and turn over the aces. Boom!

Somewhere over the rainbow – John’s rainbow deck is a thing of beauty. No sleights, just pure subtlety.

Don’t Make Me Cross – Carey’s ungaffed Brainwave effect where the card they think of is the only odd back card – so cheeky and yet SO strong!

Entrapment – A really cool, self working slow motion sandwich effect that you will love using.

One thought One Spell – A very subtle spelling effect you will want to add straight to your repertoire.

My Thoughts…

The vogue seems to be self-working card tricks. I can understand. There are many out there who do not have the time, or dexterity, to devote to endless hours of practice… yet, they want to be a part of the magic revolution.

The next-to-last time i saw the amazing Daryl was at a magic convention in the South. He spent all his dedicated time for the lecture to performing and teaching several self-working card tricks. You might expect more from such a talented magician, but Daryl understood his audience. When he finished and said..”What I performed is available in a set of lecture notes at my table just off the front of the stage.”.. I sat in my seat and watched as thirty to forty grown men unabashedly rushed, and I mean RUSHED, to the front of the stage to get their copy. They saw the performance.. they saw the power.. and they wanted it…

I often pick up self-working card magic DVD’s in hopes of finding one, and if I’m really lucky.. two effects I can file away in my repertoire. Although primarily for true beginners, I do run across that occasional unicorn.

SWEET SIMPLICITY is more than a unicorn ( an extremely rare creature ).. it is a little herd of unicorns. Honestly. I can’t disagree with anything in the ad copy. This collection WILL fool most magicians.. not to mention any lay audience.

The description of the ten effects in the ad copy will suffice. I could add a little something, but in all fairness to John I don’t want to give away too much. Here are a few of my thoughts that might add a little something to the review..

1 in 52 – Equivoque force of one of three cards.. This effect is not a magician slayer.. but gets a REALLY good reaction from a lay audience.. A keeper.

The Trick That Can Be Explained – Prediction effect with multiple outs. I would have to call this one a keeper too.

Technicolor Reset – Color Transposition. Strong packet effect. One of the only effects not self-working and could probably be sold as a stand-alone effect. You may not fool many magicians.. but they will certainly applaud your efforts. One of my two favorites..

Five Oh?! – Another Teleportation type effect. A selected card ends up sandwiched. Deck changes to all Jokers. This is a fine study of subtle moves, and is definitely a keeper.

The Perception Shuffle – Inspired by the Paradise Force Cut. Learn to perform this shuffle while looking the spectator in the eyes… and you have another keeper.

Spectator Star – A four Ace trick, as performed by a spectator. Semi-automatic working. Another effect that will slay a lay audience. May not fool most magicians, but they will certainly appreciate your effort.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Another four Aces trick with a kicker. Optical display would work perfectly with Daryl’s Kaleidoscope Cards or a Bicycle Rainbow deck. My other personal favorite.. Love the handling…

Don’t Make Me Cross – Ungaffed Brainwave type effect. The spectator finds the odd card in a mixed deck.

Entrapment – Self working sandwich effect. Nice series of moves to reach a performance climax. Another one the lay audience will never figure out.

One Thought One Spell – A spelling effect you’ll like, even if you’re not crazy about spelling effects..

Sweet Simplicity is available as a DVD or as an instant download, depending on where you purchase it. My copy is a DVD, and if there’s a downside, it’s that there was a lack of info for us reviewers. Short of pulling out a calculator and totaling ten performances and ten explanations, I can’t tell you the length of the DVD. Let’s just say it’s about an hour and ten minutes. Everything about the DVD was typical Bigblindmedia quality… The sound and video were very good, the music was very good.. and the helpers, aside from Liam, were very easy on the eye.. ( I only have one good one..)

Again.. I am very impressed by this collection of effects. This will be one of the best twenty five bucks you’ve spent in a long time. I really enjoy being able to make a firm recommendation of a new product, and Sweet Simplicity gets just that.. If you can’t find at least three or four keepers on this DVD, may I recommend badminton?

$25.00 From dealers who carry the Murphy’s Magic line of products
https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=65050