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Power Plays - High Voltage Magic Review

Official Review

July 5th, 2006 3:01pm
Reviewed by Bryce Kuhlman
One of my favorite books as a teenager was Mike Powers' Powerful Magic. Reading Mike's new book made me go back and try to figure out what made his work so appealing to me 20 years ago.

I think it boils down to this: As young magicians, a large portion of our time is spent discovering methods and training the basic skills of our craft. I remember thinking that much of the work in Powerful Magic was what I considered advanced. It taught new, sometimes very difficult moves. It taught devious methods that I'd never considered.

This trend continues with Power Plays. The books contains some very interesting, new methods to well-worn plots like Collectors, Open Travelers, Matrix, and Triumph. There are also some new plots to investigate. Best of all, from my perspective, is a nice section on the use of punched cards.

Just for fun, here are the routines I bookmarked:

  • Best of all Worlds “ a combination of some of the best pieces from previously published "Out of this World" routines.
  • PM Plus “ a seemingly impossible two-card location, using punched cards
  • Hide and Seek “ another "impossible" card location
  • The Mystery Card “ a packet trick with an interesting plot

I don’t have Max Maven's encyclopedic knowledge, but it seems to me that Mike has done a fine job in giving proper credit to the previous work on which many of his routines are based.

I really only have one concern about this book. I'm not convinced that many of these routines would be good for a lay audience... at least not without some simplification. Most of the plots seem convoluted to me. They certainly break the "describe the effect in one sentence" rule. If you're looking for magician-foolers, this book is certainly full of them!

I've never seen Mike perform, so I can't say that they routines aren't entertaining. I can only say that they aren't as direct as the material I like to perform. If you're looking for new methods, this book will certainly put a smile on your face and an ache in your fingers.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Power Plays - High Voltage Magic

Author: Mike Powers
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $40.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Power Plays has been an ongoing project for the last 14 years. It is a close-up "variety pack" of high voltage magic using cards, coins, bills, rings, rubber bands, straws & other ordinary objects. There are extremely visual items where things appear, disappear, change size, and change color as well as mental magic that will fry even the most astute observer. Many items are self working and nearly all the others require only basic sleight of hand.

The 58 routines are illustrated by Tony Dunn and explained in great detail. Here is a brief description of just a few of the killer routines:
ITH Triumph: An "In The Hands" Triumph effect with three distinct phases.

Impromptu Terror: An impromptu moving hole effect with a card signed by the spectator on both sides. A hole is visibly moved across the card to join a second hole. Now one hole jumps to a different card and then back. Both cards are given away at the end. (Completely impromptu.)

The amBIGuous Card: A selection shrinks and grows in a highly visual manner.

PM Plus: The deck is examined by two spectators who then make free cuts for selections while the magician's back is turned. The deck is reassembled and the card case is placed on top so that the magician can see nothing. Now the magician deals cards to the table from the face down deck while looking away (the backs and faces are never seen by the magician). The magician stops dealing and creates a second pile. Again the dealing stops. Now the magician names both selections. When the top cards of the piles are turned over, they are found to be the selections!! (Conditions: full examined deck, magician never sees the faces or backs of any card.)

Code 5: A two person effect in which a spectator creates a random 5 card poker hand from a full deck. This is done while one of the two person team is in another room. Now the other team member goes to a remote location without making any contact with his partner. The partner now enters and tells the spectator that she may keep any card as her "hole" card (face down). She is instructed to turn the other four cards face up. After studying the four face up cards, the spectator is told what card is in the "hole!"

Total Freedom: A shortened version of the Bannon item "Degrees of Freedom" where six totally free selections are used instead of a royal flush. The spectators mix cards face up and face down. In the end there are exactly six face down cards as predicted by the magician. And yes, they are the six selections. (All 6 selections are free choices and are shuffled into the deck by a spectator.)

Animazement: A flip book trick (like Cardtoon) where an animated stick figure draws an X on a single card. Of course the card is the signed selection. A template is provided so that you can create your own animation sequence.

Finders Keepers: A card freely named by a spectator ends up sandwiched by two jokers while the cards are under the spectator's control.

Flipped Out: A spectator counts four coins. The magician's hands are otherwise empty. The spectator holds all four on her outstretched palm. She shakes her hands together and finds that one coin has jumped to the magician's hand. The three coins are placed again on her outstretched palm. The magician places his hand under the table. Now the spectator dumps the three coins onto the table. Only two hit the table!! The magician brings his hand into view, now holding two coins!

Routined Rubber: A four phase rubber band routine that begins with a single band transforming visibly into two!

Smokin': Ron Jaxon's incredible jumping filter routine. The filter of a cigarette jumps from end to end in a highly visual manner.

  • Full color dust jacket
  • Hardcover
  • Over 150 illustrations by Tony Dunn
  • Visual and mental magic
  • Foreword by Allan Ackerman
Pages 232 - 8.5"x11"

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