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On/Off James Sanden Mar 3
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Review of On/Off

Official Review

March 3rd, 2015 8:35am
Rating:
Reviewed by James Sanden
The basic effect of “On/Off” by Nicholas Lawrence is that the performer removes his or her finger in order to remove a ring. It’s a visual, convincing and unexpected effect. It’s also only a slight variation of an effect published almost 25 years ago.

The effect itself is fantastic and looks great. The plot of removing one’s finger to remove a stuck ring is delightfully absurd and surprising. And the idea of solving the problem of a stuck ring by removing one’s finger is just the sort of solution a real magician might come up with. It’s a far cry from the standard card and coin effects one typically sees performed. The method itself is clever, convincing and most of the handlings are impromptu. Either as a quick “one off” effect, or as part of a longer routine, this is a great piece of magic.

The instruction on the DVD is clear and well thought out, with good camera work and multiple angles. Many subtleties are shared, and a large number of variations are taught. Some of the instruction is a bit repetitive, but that’s far more preferable to instruction that’s made up on the spot with little rehearsal or preparation.

My main complaint is that no credit was given to David Harkey, who published the exact same effect using the same method (the only difference being that Harkey did the effect with the ring finger, not the little finger) in his book, Simply Harkey, in 1991. In addition to the basic “ring off finger” routine, Mr. Harkey explores a wide range of effects using the same principle, then goes on to explain another 59 or so effects in the book. I say this not because there is anything inherently wrong with single trick DVD’s. But I do miss the days of magicians investing time and energy into fully exploring and honing their repertoire and only after years of performance sharing them with the magic marketplace.

As it is, Simply Harkey is out of print, unlikely to be reprinted and is quite expensive on the secondary marketplace. At the very least, SansMinds should have done their research, contacted Mr. Harkey and gotten permission to teach a version of his effect.

Crediting aside, this is a wonderful, quirky effect that looks exactly like it would if someone really could remove their finger to remove their ring. If you like the effect as seen on the trailer, and don’t mind spending $30 for the addition of one effect to your repertoire, this is a great DVD.

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