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Eclectica Review

Official Review

December 8th, 2016 9:45am
Rating:
Reviewed by Dr. J. M. Ayala de Cedoz
John Carey at one point was a bit of an underground guy in the world of magic, but over the past few years he has put out some great DVDs and books which have brought him into the arena of major players. Some magicians like his stuff, others do not. Most of his stuff is rather easy to do and do not require knuckle-busting sleights to perform, most of them capping off in the intermediate range as far as difficulty goes. Just like with some of the self-working material out there, this does not mean the effects are weak and in fact, they are not and many of them play strongly.

The collection of 15 effects on this DVD are no exception. Normally I do not break down each effect on discs like this as to whether they are any good or not (because I may not like them, but you might, making my opinion irrelevant) but I will discuss each one in relation to their inspirations and practicality.

Backs to the Wall is a decent version of the All-Backs plot which does not use gaffs. Comparitively speaking there are relatively few full-deck All-Backs routines out there as most are done with a small packet of cards, but this does use the whole deck. The displays are fair and convincing but in my opinion, the ending was not as strong as it could be.

Bluff Cull/Ensemble is exactly what it says and it is quite easy to do, but it is not a stand-alone effect and would be a great way to get into any effect using four-of-a-kind where you need to secretly get them together from various parts of the deck.

Three Phase Daley - The phases were all very nice but I think the basic effect as described by Dai Vernon is the best - simple, direct and very easy to follow. To me three phases for this effect, while they were all different, is a bit too muddy for the basic effect but at the same time, they work and they work well.

Mental Sandwich is kind of like a blend between the All-Outs-Think-of-a-Card and the Sandwich plot - the audience participant thinks of one card in a small packet of cards, which they hold, and the cards are put back into the pack. The merely thought-of card is found by the Jokers and ends up sandwiched between them. Simple and easy to do.

Sent and Received is a different way of doing the Dai Vernon 'Emotional Reaction' using cards. In this case the deck is shuffled and the performer starts to send, telepathically, a color to the participant. Then, he sends the suit. The audience member then runs through the deck and finds the card that they "feel" is being thought of by the performer, cuts it into the pack and tables the deck, where it is given a few more cuts just to mix it up. The performer then runs through the deck and pulls out the card they have been thinking of all day long, places it face down on the palm of the participant and asks them what card they received telepathically. When they name the card and turn over the one on their palm, they are seen to match.

Top, Middle and Bottom is yet another way of locating a card, but in this case it is not simply the old "pick-a-card" effect. The participant takes out chunks of cards from the middle of the deck, then the bottom, then burns the top and bottom cards of the remaining pack to choose a card, which is then lost in the deck, the deck goes in your pocket and you quickly find the card with one hand.

Slow Motion Triumph. Do I really need to explain this? It is well-done too.

Telekinetic is an interesting effect wherein you have a card selected and returned to the deck. You cause a random card to turn face up inn the middle of the deck, then you turn it face down again and repeat with a second random card. The third time, the selection is the one that turns face up in the middle of the deck.

Splitsville is a nice little take on the classic Paul Harris effect, Las Vegas Split. Here, a four-spot turns into two 2 spots, which then turn into the four Aces all at once.

Homage to Bannon is a tribute to the John Bannon effect, Fat City Revisited where two cards (Jokers) appear one at a time, face-up, in the middle of the deck. A card is selected and is returned to the deck, the Jokers sandwich the whole deck as the selection falls out of the deck from the bottom. This handling makes clever use of some very easy moves.

Whispers is a version of that very same card plot. In this case, three selections are made and placed face-down on the table (or a spectator can hold on to them). The first card is placed face-down between two face-down Jokers and "whisper" the name of the card to the magician, who then reveals it. The top card is turned over - the selection has risen to the top! The selection is returned to the deck, and then the process is repeated twice more. The final time, the packet is placed into the hands of a participant where the card comes to the top in their hand. For the kicker, the two Jokers turn into the selections which were previously placed into the deck - all happening in their hands!

Assisted Ambitions is a great version of the Ambitious Classic effect where you have a card chosen (unknown, for now) from a shuffled deck, and then choose three cards for yourself at random. You reveal their selection to be an Ace and your three cards are random values. You proceed to place their selection near the bottom of your cards, after which it rises to the top. You repeat this twice more. The final time, they hold their selection between their index and middle fingers where you add your three cards on top of it. After a moment, their card rises to the top! For the kicker, your three cards have changed into the three mates of their selection! This one is very easy to do and uses no difficult sleights, and even utilizes a common card sleight done in the hands of the spectator!

Invisible Interlude is not new but it is to John Carey - he is known for card work and he is doing magic with a coin here! You start by having a spectator select a card, remember it and return it to the deck, which is placed into their hands. You bring out two invisible coins, they select one and it magically becomes visible. You perform a quick coin Flurry, after which the coin disappears and reappears in the deck, inside their hand, on top of their selection. This is a nice way to perform a Flurry, and the card location is, while still a location, different from what is normally seen. There really is nothing difficult here either. Even the coin moves are very basic and the Flurry still looks great.

2's Company and... is a sponge ball routine [gasp!] that, by the admission of John Carey himself, is nothing new but it does indeed use some rarely seen sponge ball moves. Love them or hate them, sponge balls get great reactions from all ages and this routine is as commercial as anything else and is easy to do. It does use 5 sponge balls so you will have to judge for yourself whether it is worth the pocket space or space in your case/bag.

One Card, One Thought is an experiment in synchronicity and is a great effect to do with couples, close friends or family members when you do not have your Anniversary Waltz ready to go. One person selects a card and holds onto it between their palms. The second person selects two different cards, then using those two cards uses the suit from one and the value of the other to make up a whole new, different card. They reveal the card that was made up using the two random cards and it is shown to match the card being held by the first spectator!

All in all these effects are very easy to do and I would say that the most difficult sleight used in any of them is the Hofzinser Spread Cull, which John covers very well in case you are not familiar with it. Strong effects that are easy to do and in some cases, even almost self-working, is what John Carey is known for and this collection is no exception. Most of the effects have a performance clip to go with them, but a handful do not. Normally the lack of a live performance indicates that there may be something not-so-good about performing an effect for a live audience. That is not the case here; all of the methods are doable for live audiences and quite commercial. Some of the effects are not strong enough to be stand-alone effects and others are. There are a few of them that you have to watch your pace with because if you do not, the audience may fail to see/understand the effect.

If you are a fan of John Carey you will doubtless like this DVD and if you have never heard of him, this is just as good as any place to get your introduction to his work. In my opinion, though the material is good, it is not his overall best work, which actually says a lot. Just like the rest of his work (books and DVDs), the price range is perfect for this DVD.

Highly recommended!

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Eclectica

Author: Carey, John
Publisher: RSVP - Russ Stevens
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $30.00
Buy Now
Manufacturer's Description:

John Carey is back with a brand new collection of powerful and practical card and close up magic. Streamlined in a way he has become respected for, John shares 15 commercial effects on this new DVD!

No pipe dreams, just very strong doable effects with cards, a coin and even a commercial sponge ball routine!

1. Backs to the Wall. John's take on the classic All Backs routine. An ideal opener that's funny, magical and strong.
2. Bluff Cull/Ensemble. Want to be able to cull say the Aces from a spectator's shuffled deck sleightlessly? Well now you can!
3. Three Phase Daley. A beautifully direct 3 phase approach to a classic card routine.
4. Mental Sandwich. A highly efficient and very strong sandwich routine involving a thought of card and two jokers. Super simple but elegant and powerful.
5. Sent and Received! John's homage to Dai Vernon and his fabulous emotional reaction routine. Makes the spectator the star.
6. Top, Middle and Bottom! A hands off divination and stunning revelation of a selected card wrapped in a very funny premise.
7. Slow Motion Triumph. A beautiful slow motion small packet triumph effect that's perfect for strolling work.
8. Telekinetic. A delightful card mystery wrapped in a presentation about telekinesis. The spectator is the star once again at the climax!
9. Splitsville! A super quick and slick progressive production of the Aces! Minimum of moves, maximum effect.
10. Homage to Bannon. Carey's variation of a great John Bannon sandwich effect called fat city.
11. Whispers. Watch and learn John's super efficient and memorable approach to the classic whisperers effect. Oh and the finish will make you smile!
12. Assisted Ambitions. Carey's small packet ambitious card was designed for real world usage. A minimum of moves with maximum effect.
13. Invisible Interlude. One of John's absolute favorites to perform. Another great strolling piece!
14. Two's Company And? Carey does sponge balls! A very quick and smooth multi phased routine using two little used sponge ball moves and some lovely routining.
15. One Card and One Thought... Finally, join John as he shares this delightful card mystery inspired by the work of Al Leech. A perfect effect for a couple involving a mystery card, a thought of card and a premise of connections.

Running time: 1 hour 48 minutes


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