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Essentials in Magic: The Svengali Deck Review

Official Review

October 4th, 2013 5:12am
Rating:
Reviewed by James Sanden
Daryl and Murphy’s Magic Supplies have teamed up to create a series of DVDs called “Essentials in Magic,” covering classics including the Invisible Deck, Sponge Balls, Cups and Balls, Linking Rings and many others. This review concerns the disc that covers the Svengali Deck. While some consider the Svengali Deck to be only for beginners, one only has to witness a professional perform in the real world to see how effective it can be. And while it is a heavily gimmicked deck, it’s quite versatile and a variety of magic can be done with it.

One of the biggest challenges with the Svengali Deck is how to handle it in a casual and natural manner. The nature of the deck, combined with how it’s typically presented in a magic store, has resulted in a basic handling that, while functional, at best looks a little strange and at worst looks very suspicious. Daryl addresses this at the beginning of the disc, offering some very practical and natural ways of not only having a card selected, but also ways to false shuffle and cut that are disarming, effective and not very difficult. This section alone takes the basic handling of the Svengali Deck to a whole new level.

Daryl then goes on to teach a number of card revelations that allow both the magician and the spectator to find a selection using the Svengali Deck. These include cutting to the card, reversals, spelling revelations, a stop trick and more. There are also comedy revelations, as well as variations on the classic effect of having the selection vanish from the deck. Daryl then teaches routines that go beyond the basic pick-a-card trick, including some classic card effects, pseudo memory stunts and transpositions. Lastly he teaches several ways to end the routine, including a couple of handlings that show the deck to contain duplicates of the selection. While some performers don’t like handlings that suggest duplicates (and thus a force), the versions Daryl teaches go beyond the typical version in ways that amplify the magical nature of the effect and hide the method quite well. Finally, Daryl covers some ways to switch the deck for a normal one at the end of the routine, a useful strategy for performers who want to have the deck examined or wish to perform additional magic with a regular deck.

The camerawork on the production is excellent, shot in a studio with multiple camera angles to insure the instruction is clear. Daryl, one of magic’s great teachers, does an excellent job with clear, rehearsed explanations that include some great tips (the real work) with the Svengali Deck. His performances show how effective a routine it can be and how it can replicate effects that typically require sleight of hand. It’s a testament to Daryl that it made me want to break out my Svengali Deck and start working with it again.

If you’ve never used the Svengali Deck, this is a great introduction to the effect, and if you have, it’s a great reason to take it out of the magic drawer where it’s been gathering dust and try something new with it. This disc (and I hope the others in the series) are a great reminder that you don’t always need to look to the latest and greatest to find excellent, outstanding magic.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Essentials in Magic: The Svengali Deck

Author: Daryl
Publisher: Murphy's Magic Supplies, Inc.
Average Rating:  (2)
Retail Price: $9.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

The Svengali Deck is one of the most popular and versatile trick deck of cards. If you want to perform miracles with virtually no skill, look no further than the Svengali Deck. Imagine causing cards to change place, jump up through the deck, change from one card to another, and so much more. Look like a sleight of hand expert - like a true magician - all without years of practice.

In this DVD, World Champion FISM Gold Medal Winning Close- Up Magician, Daryl, takes you step by step on the many uses of this versatile trick deck of cards. Daryl is renowned as one of the world's finest magic teachers. Here, he shares his years of knowledge and expertise so you, too, can be the life of the party amazing your friends, family and colleagues.

If you have ever wanted to do incredible card magic, grab your Svengali Deck and let Daryl guide you down the essential road to miracles.

Running Time Approximately: 1hr


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