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The Enigma Review

Official Review

February 9th, 2012 3:39pm
Reviewed by James Sanden
The Essential Magic Conference, a highly acclaimed online magic conference, has begun releasing effects taught at their events. One of these is “Enigma” by Paulino Gil. Its title comes from the fact that the in-studio attendees were surprised that the effect taught had no predecessor in print. Which isn’t to say it seemed derivative or basic, just that it was such a beautiful, simple effect that they were surprised no one had come up with it before.

So what’s the effect? It’s a five phase routine during which various cords and chains penetrate and jump from finger to finger on the performer’s hand. Its strength lies in the simplicity of the effect and the clarity of its appearance. It really does look like the cord penetrates or instantly jumps from finger to finger. Unlike many string and finger effects, it doesn’t appear to be a topological curiosity. It simply appears as though a string is placed around your finger, then immediately penetrates it (or jumps to another digit.)

“The Enigma” is a fooler. It’s like a version of Dean’s Box, but with only a string and the performer’s hand. It’s also a close up effect that doesn’t use cards or coins, making it somewhat of a rarity. Add in that the props are simple, examinable and interesting, and you have a fantastic, practical, commercial effect.

The method is wonderfully counter intuitive, though the explanation is a little rushed and unclear. Mr. Gil learned enough English to be able to perform and teach the effect, which is admirable. However, a voiceover would have allowed for a more detailed explanation and for subtleties to be covered. The basic move is explained briefly and the actual “getting in position” movement is shot from fairly far away, making it difficult to understand how the set up is done. The producers do address this with slow motion, close up video shot from various angles that plays at the end of each phase’s explanation, which helps tremendously.

The only drawback is that five phases may be a bit much and could leave the audience either confused or bored with the effect. The effects do vary to some extent with the use of different colored cords and a chain, as well as escalating in impressiveness, but it’s still a bit much. Thankfully, the phases are independent, so the performer can choose to perform as many or as few as he or she likes, as well as changing their order as desired.

This simple, powerful effect packs small and plays big. The fact that all you need is one to three thin cords makes pocket management a dream, especially since the performer could use the same cords for “ring on string” or another effect using an ungimmicked cord. To have maximum impact will require clarity and focus on the part of the performer, but even a basic presentation could be effective. While probably not strong enough to be a closer in your set, there is enough magic and variety that it could be added to nearly any performer’s repertoire. Given the preponderance of coin and card effects being released on a seemingly hourly basis, this is a most welcome addition to the close up performer’s arsenal.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for The Enigma

Author: Gil, Paulino
Publisher: Essential Magic Collection
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $35.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Enigma has been a feature of Paulino Gil's impromptu work for nearly 30 years.

A wonderful close up effect in which a loop of string penetrates through the fingers again and again under increasingly impossible conditions. Enigma was one of the most talked about tricks at the Essential Magic Conference and is now released for the first time.

The routine builds one impossibility on another as first one loop of string, then two strings and, finally, a chain, penetrate the fingers of the magician's hand. Easy to do. Always ready.

Comes complete with instructional DVD and all the props.

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