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Destination (DVD and Gimmick) Review

Official Review

May 14th, 2015 4:27pm
Rating:
Reviewed by James Sanden
There’s been a great deal of debate in the last few years about the relative value of “prop free” versus traditional mentalism, the former being when the performer reads minds without the spectator having to write anything down. For example, the spectator simply thinks of a playing card, the performer sets aside a card, and that card matches the one the spectator merely had in mind.

Rus Andrew’s “Destination” is a DVD teaching his approach to this effect. As with many magic releases, there’s a gap between the method taught and the effect described. While some discrepancy is acceptable, the purchaser should keep in mind that “Destination” is not the holy grail of methods, and it does not, despite what the ad copy subtly suggests, allow the performer to predict any card a spectator may imagine.

What is taught on the DVD is a performance script and approach that gives the appearance that the spectator freely chooses a card and yet the performer somehow knows what card he or she has picked. As with much of “prop free” mentalism, the effect is accomplished primarily with scripting. Part of the method is very clever and works almost entirely based on the language used, and part of it is bold, requiring subtlety and acting on the part of the performer, something frankly lacking in Mr. Andrews’ performance. While the spectator seemed impressed with the effect, Mr. Andrew’s delivery and approach were a bit lazy and undeveloped, particularly compared to that of his guest on the DVD, Peter Turner.

If you have never seen Peter Turner perform or teach, you are in for a treat. His ideas, approach and style of performance are fresh, clever, powerful and engaging. I don’t say this lightly, as I find the vast majority of mentalists, even the big stars in our industry, uninteresting. To the contrary, I found Mr. Turner’s approach fascinating, engrossing and effective. In his voice what could be a heavy handed and obvious technique becomes subtle, effective and camouflaged in a compelling presentation. Unfortunately, seeing this level of work and talent in another performer made it apparent that Mr. Andrews hasn’t done the same work with his own creation. Not only was this apparent in his very basic performances, but it also shone through in his explanations, which were a bit minimalist and undeveloped as well.

The effects and explanation were filmed in a casino. The camera work was minimal, which is appropriate for an effect of this type. The two major effects taught are a thought of poker or blackjack hand revelation and a thought of card revelation. Of the two, the gambling themed effects seemed the weaker. While the gambling premise has an inherent relevance to audiences, the idea of predicting the best poker hand possible using a thought of card might be underwhelming to more discerning viewers, given the limited number of outcomes, particularly compared to the idea of predicting any card in a spectator’s mind, an mathematically more impressive effect. Mr. Turner also teaches a way to extend the basic routine wherein the performer divines not a thought of card, but a thought of name, taking the effect to another level. Additionally, a PDF is included on the DVD that teaches a handling that eliminates the need for the spectator to ever name their card, and yet the performer can still confidently identify it.

While Mr. Andrews’ method, in particular the way he determines the value of the thought of card, is clever and practical, the real value of the DVD is in Mr. Turner’s contributions. He provides insight, techniques and ideas that take his approach to the effect to a higher level, while also adding texture, lovely moments and power to the routine. He also offers suggestions that simply improve the method. For example, he teaches two techniques to determine what one of two or three items a person is thinking of, which give the authentic illusion of mind reading and effectively guarantee a direct hit. Compare that to Mr. Andrews comment that, if the performer is “one off,” it’s still very impressive. While that may be true, it’s a classic example of Al Baker’s warning to not stop thinking too soon.

While Rus Andrew’s basic method is a good one and worth exploring, the explanation and organization of the material left a lot to be desired. Mr. Turner’s guest spot saved the DVD, not only by clarifying and focusing the conversation, but the addition of his ideas, techniques and performance examples will make any performance of the effect many times more effective. If you are interested in techniques and ideas for “prop free” mentalism and the divination of a thought of card, this DVD offers an interesting approach. However, its real value is in Mr. Turner’s contributions. Frankly, if he weren’t a guest on this DVD, the project would have gotten fewer stars.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Destination (DVD and Gimmick)

Author: Andrews, Rus
Publisher: World Magic Shop
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $45.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Imagine being able to place a single playing card down in front of a spectator, have them merely think of a card and even change their mind.

THEY NEVER SAY ANYTHING, THEY JUST THINK OF THEIR CARD!

They turn it over and it matches perfectly! Sounds impossible?

This is Destination.

Destination is a principle that will allow you the ability to predict playing cards, poker hands, blackjack hands and even a thought of name ahead of time without the spectator ever saying aloud their thoughts. Everything exists purely inside their mind.

On this DVD you will find everything you will ever need to perform the perfect thought of card effect. In addition, you will also learn further insights including the incredible bonus effect "Getting to know you" by Peter 'The Perceptionist' Turner, who guest presents the DVD with Destination's creator - Rus Andrews.


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