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Coins Through Table (World's Greatest Magic) Review

Official Review

February 2nd, 2009 10:32am
Reviewed by James Sanden
The World’s Greatest Magic by the World’s Greatest Magicians series continues, unabated, with this DVD teaching Coins Through Table. Somewhat strangely, some of the same methods are taught two or three times by different performers on the same DVD. This could suggest that the producers just threw in any explanation of the Coins Through Table they could get their hands on, but there is some value in this approach. One merely has to sort through the chaff to find the wheat. And in terms of looking for the good amongst the bad, watching an entire DVD is certainly easier than looking through 20 years of a magic publication to find undiscovered, brilliant, ideas. My point is this: I think if one is going to produce a series like World’s Greatest Magic, then one should keep an eye towards truly educating the purchaser, not just creating another commodity.

That point aside, there is a lot of good information on this DVD. In some ways Coins Through Table is ideally suited for this series. Since the effect is typically that of coins one at a time penetrating a table, by presenting a number of different techniques and approaches, an intelligent performer can combine the best of several routines to create an effect and method better suited for his or her particular needs. This approach also gives the viewer the opportunity to study different approaches to coin magic from some of the greatest proponents of the art. While there are disappointing contributions as well, the viewer does have the opportunity to see David Roth, Larry Jennings and Johnny Thompson all perform the effect. They are masters of the craft and their contributions are excellent examples of Coins Through Table in performance.

Not surprisingly, the highlights for me were the contributions of David Roth and Johnny Thompson, both of whom taught variations inspired by Al Baker’s and Han Ping Chien. While the effect in both men’s hands was flawless, what made Mr. Thompson’s extraordinary was his presentation, which highlighted and clarified what was occurring, making the effect much stronger in the eyes of the audience. David Regal’s handling was also quite interesting because, while a bit cozy, it allowed for the routine to be performed standing and used a very counter-intuitive and deceptive method, allowing for a very clean series of penetrations.

Steve Dacri and John Mendoza’s contributions were the weakest on the disc. At one point Mr. Dacri describes what he’s doing under the table, but doesn’t demonstrate it where the viewer can actually see what’s happening. However, he does have some work on lapping that I believe is very pertinent to a discussion of Coins Through Table. On the other hand, I don’t believe Mr. Mendoza’s contribution should have been included on the disc. While he does have a couple of interesting thoughts, his handling is repetitive, cozy, muddled and awkward. At one point, to moisten the heel of his hand, he coughs into his fist. Strangely, instead of quietly and unobtrusively doing so, his cough was loud, explosive, surprising and disgusting, which in addition to being counterproductive by drawing attention to a supposedly “secret” moment, was also extremely distracting and somewhat disturbing to watch. The fact of the matter is that, of the 3 routines he teaches, 2 of the 3 are performed and taught far more effectively on the same disc by David Roth.

I think one of the real opportunities in a DVD like this one, which showcases so many different ways to produce the same, simple effect, is the chance to compare the subtle differences. If you watch carefully and really study the flow of the routines you can see the distinct difference the tiniest changes can have on the appearance of the effect. On a different note, it’s also important to keep in mind that, with the exception of David Regal’s approach, all the methods require the performer to be seated.

By and large, this is an excellent treatise on the Coins Through Table. While there are some drawbacks and some material that would have been best left on the cutting room floor, this DVD will arm the viewer with not only a variety of approaches from which to design a strong routine, but also several examples of how effective simple, classical magical effects can be in performance. There are countless versions of Coins Through Table in the literature, but if you want a survey of some of the best, this DVD is a great place to start.
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Product info for Coins Through Table (World's Greatest Magic)

Author: Various
Publisher: L&L Publishing
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $19.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

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Imagine the best magic, the best magicians, and the best producers all in one place.

Imagine no more...

If you could have one set of magic DVDs, this would be it! This benchmark collection features just about all of magic's most enduring and classic effects and routines. It's a fabulous compendium with many of the top masters in the world of magic teaching their handlings and routines for some of magic's classics. Linking rings, sponge balls, metal bending, cups and balls, thumb tips, Zombie, color-changing knives, and many, many more topics are all gathered in this one terrific DVD reference set. Each volume covers a specific subject and features new, old, and sometimes rare footage by some of the top video producers in magic.

An anywhere, anytime miracle that you'll perform for the rest of your life!

Since entering the literature of magic in the 1600's, the effect of passing coins through a solid table top has captured the imagination of magicians and has led to countless variations and versions. The trick's inclusion in the repertoires of some of close-up magic's most illustrious performers speaks to its utterly mystifying effect on an audience.

In this volume, you'll see eight different versions of this close-up magic favorite with different methodologies, presentations and even finales. David Roth begins a performance and exposition of the original Al Baker approach of passing the coins through the table one at a time while Gary Ouellet presents Dai Vernon's version from Stars of Magic. Steve Dacri demonstrates a version taught to him by Slydini and refined by Vernon while John Mendoza uses six coins rather than the traditional four and finishes the routine with an unbelievable final production. David Roth returns with the traditional Han Ping Chien technique for passing three coins through at one time followed by Larry Jennings with a wonderful no-lap method. Johnny Thompson presents his own version of the Baker routine followed by an in-the-air transposition of three coins ala Han Ping Chien, while David Regal presents an innovative method - and presentation - for this close-up classic.

Passing a solid object through another solid object has always been a favorite plot of magicians and the commonness of coins and tables only adds another layer of mystery and fascination to it. Learn one (or more!) of these methods and you'll be ready to entertain and bewilder anyone at anytime with objects that are completely ordinary and familiar.

  • Coins Through The Table (One at a Time) - David Roth
  • Kangaroo Coins - Gary Ouellet
  • Coins Thru Table - Steve Dacri
  • Coins Thru The Table - John Mendoza
  • Coins Through The Table (Han Ping Chien Method) - David Roth
  • Coins Through The Table - Larry Jennings
  • Coins Through Table / Han Ping Chien - Johnny Thompson
  • Coins Through The Table - David Regal
Running Time Approximately 1hr 30min

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