January 24th, 2012 10:47am
|David Regal . . . I think of Regal, and I think of the local pub from Three's Company called Regal Beagle. Of course John Ritter was the star of Three's Company. When I think of John Ritter, I think of the World's Greatest Magic specials that aired every Thanksgiving for a few years in a row back in the 90's. John Ritter hosted most of the episodes. I remember that was the first time I heard of guys like Bill Malone, Guy Hollingworth, Max Maven, Mac King, Michael Ammar, Michael Finney and a ton of others.
Ah . . . the memories.
Jeff comes back from memory lane . . .
On to the review.
Production quality - As with pretty much all L&L DVDs the quality, lighting, menu navigation, etc are all top notch. No complaints here.
DVD Concept - The concept of Premise, Power & Participation is that once you've reached a certain level of competence in your technical abilities, what will separate you from all the other magicians who are also good technicians? Answer . . . How well you present the magic.
We learn from David Regal how to figure out how to present magic. He suggests that we start by analyzing three basic areas (premise, power and participation). Volume I Focuses on premise.
Teaching - How good of a teacher is David Regal? Excellent. Putting aside the quality of the effect for moment, if there's anything you like on this DVD, you will learn it very well while being entertained and engaged by a very smart, funny and clever guy.
The Effects - Below is a list of each effect with a rating (1 star = lowest; 5 stars = highest) along with brief commentary on each one.
Contact Lens Gag - This is basically a funny gag where you pretend there's a problem with your contact lens, when suddenly a huge glass "contact lens" falls out of your eye onto the table. It's funny and get's there attention, but needs to be treated as a gag . . . That being said, I'm going to exclude this one from the effect ratings.
Look at Me, I'm Special (2.5 stars) - This is a 3 phase routine that starts with a pretty weak four Ace production, then moves to a stunning card change (the Aces change into Kings), followed by an average reproduction of the Aces. The premise is funny and lightens the mood, but the effect is only average.
Carried Away(4 stars) - A simple, quick and visual transposition. The selection vanishes from the Ace packet in your hand and reappears in the King packet on the table. Simple and clever
Eight Ball (3.5 stars) - The ink on the Eight of Clubs "falls" off of the card and becomes an Eight Ball. It's very unexpected and visual. In the performance, it was treated like a throw away. While I don't think it needs to be a huge presentational piece, I do think it could be elevated above the status of throw away.
Tenacious Climber (4.5 Stars) - This is one of my favorite tricks from David Regal. It's a perfect example of how to examine premise. This is his handling of Ambitious card. Those who know me know that I've never been a fan of ambitious card . . . I'm still not a convert after seeing Regal's, however, his routine is the ONLY one I've ever seen that actually had some semblance of a logical premise.
Coins Through the Table (4 stars) - All coins across or coins through table effects have that one problem of how to make the final coin look a little different or better than the ones before. I think this handling, though a bit of a hook up required, goes a long way to solve the problem of the last coin. You see it on the table, he covers it with his hand. When he lifts his hand it's gone. Very powerful. Plus I love the "Flash Gordon" premise.
Exhibit "A" (4.5 stars) - Brother Hamman's Your Signed Card taken to the next level. This is one of the cleanest effects of this type that I've seen. The card face down on the table from the start later is discovered to be the signed selection. The handling is pure and clean. I love it. The only downside is that the card in the end cannot be handed out. However, Regal has a pretty solid presentational reason/premise that covers this appropriately.
Sum of the Parts (5 stars)See this once and you'll want David to be the father of your next flock of playing cards. I think when Paul Harris developed Mickey Mouse Math, this is what he meant to invent. It's clean, visual and stunning . . . beautiful magic.
Shred of Proof (5 stars) - This may be my favorite effect on the disk. It's a simple card revelation. However, it has an engaging story, a really clean "selection" and a very clever and interesting way of revealing the selection as a paper shred is twisted until the selection is revealed . . . it's quite eerie, especially in light of the attached story. One other point is that this can modified to reveal anything. It doesn't have to be a playing card.
My Best Friend (5 stars) - Most chop cup and cups and balls routines I've seen are just lame. There are exceptions of course, but in general, the patter is crap; the flow is crap; the "presentation" is crap and confusing. However, My Best Friend just might be the best chop cup routine I've seen. Instead of balls, it uses a small fake mouse . . . the final loads will take you by surprise and they are perfectly logical. Killer magic.
Chink-A-Drink (2 stars) - Probably the worst effect on the DVD. It's your standard Chink-A-Chink with a beer bottle production at the end. I will say, that this is a nice way to clean up the extra cap used when performing Chink-A-Chink. I just felt that takes what used to be a simple impromptu (or at least on-the-fly) routine and turns it into something more complicated, less impromptu and less portable.
I'm a huge fan of David Regal. However, even my greatest hero Superman has his weakness. David's Kryptonite is sort of a bitter sweet. Like Superman it's created from a wonderful part of who he is. David Regal is a writer and an excellent one at that. He's written for Everybody Loves Raymond, Rugrats. One of the things that make his magic beautiful is this ability to write (e.g. Shred of Proof). However, in his presentations, I see him get too caught up in the script at times and things sometimes feel to rigid or strict.
However, he is sooooooooo far ahead of most magicians putting out DVDs, and like Superman, his strengths are so much more than this one weakness.
The Tricks alone average to 4 stars. Add in David's vast experience and performance prowess and script writing savvy, and you get a solid, solid DVD definitely worth adding to your library. Final Verdict: 4.5 Stars with a Stone Status of Total Gem!
As I mentioned at the beginning, when I think of David Regal I'm reminded of many things I love about magic and some fond memories of past magical experiences . . . plus I think of Snoopy . . . he was a beagle.
Product info for David Regal Volume 1: Premise, Power, & Participation DVD
Author: David RegalAverage Rating: (1)Retail Price: $34.95
Look at Me, I'm Special (unpublished) - A four-Ace production that leads to an ultra-clean moment of magic.
Carried Away (from Constant Fooling) - An any-deck, any time incredible transportation.
Eight Ball (from Constant Fooling) - Ink slides off a playing card and forms itself into an eight ball!
Tenacious Climber (from Constant Fooling) - This entertaining approach to the Ambitious Card plot leads to a climax that will fool all.
Coins Through the Table (from Constant Fooling) - Stand-up versions of this plot are few and far between . . . and this one is a killer.
Exhibit "A" (from Penumbra) - A stunning handling of Hamman's Signed Card plot. Magic just seems to happen.
Sum of the Parts (from Constant Fooling) - A spectator shuffles a deck and selects a card, then a demonstration of playing card mathematics (and visual changes) ensues in which cards "add up," finally totaling the selection!
Shred of Proof (from Constant Fooling) - An eerie revelation with dozens of applications.
My Best Friend (from Close-Up & Personal) - A chop cup routine with a difference . . . in the form of a small mouse.
Chink-A-Drink (from Constant Fooling) - The classic assembly with a logical kicker.