Get Nyman - Andy Nyman - 3 DVD Set

Produced by Alakazam Magic

Reviewed by Chris Jones

Take your front row seat for a private performance at an exclusive nightclub in London's West End. In his unique and inimitable style, Andy Nyman performs some of the most direct and powerful routines that have earnt him a reputation as one of the world's leading mentalists and creative thinkers in the world of magic.

From numerous appearances across the globe Andy has performed in a way that always leaves a lasting impression on those who witness his style of work and here he shares invaluable tips and tricks that will help you to achieve similar results. Andy's thoughts and advice on spectator management are alone worth the price of this incredible three-disc set and will be invaluable to the working performer.

Disc One - The Show
The Hidden, No Way Out, Chair Swindle, Kick In the Head, Deep Red Prediction, The Dead Zone, Mr Saturday Night, Charade, Magicians Graphology, Dead of Night

Disc Two - The Explanations
Andy explains every routine in full detail from the technical aspects, right through to the routining and patter that make each effect impactful and entertaining; no stone is left unturned.

Disc Three, The Extras
Over 80 minutes of extras including - "Inside the Mind of The Diamond" an exclusive 45-minute interview with Andy by Marc Paul. "The Secret to Spectator Selection" - Andy's highly regarded work on audience management. The extras also include: "The Nyman Cut," a performance of Andy's world famous "The Sophie Trick," plus, Andy's legendary Svengali Demonstration. And "???" - The mystery clip you will not believe!

Most of us know Nyman from his 'commercial' effects, such as Diceman, The Hidden, Killer Elite, and his lecture notes. Others of us will know of his acting ability, his production and writing skills for theatre, TV and other magi, and his close friendship and affiliation with such dignitaries as Derren Brown. I was far from disappointed, although reading the ‘itinerary’, I was quite upset to see that a lot of the material was stuff I already knew and owned... and stuff that I actually use in my performances. However... to see Andy PERFORM the effects which I knew, loved and had made my own, was simply breathtaking. And I do mean, breathtaking.

It's pure entertainment. Nyman's cheeky, cheesy smile and his undisputable acting ability set in motion the belief that yes, I think he may really be doing amazing acts of real mentalism.

Of course, this is not true – or is it?!?!

He's an incredibly talented, convincing showman. Plain and simple. And knowing the plots of such effects as 'the dead zone' and 'the hidden', I was absolutely gobsmacked at how well he suckers the audience in by the weaving of very clever, articulate and almost 'throw away' lines and gestures, which not only cover, but JUSTIFY the moves and reasons for his actions. This is truly performance art. Everything which is done has a reason, and it is all rich with feeling and emotion.

I have already learned so much from the performances alone. For instance, the Hidden - which involves 3 spectators giving up a coin, watch and wallet respectively - and then 'dead cutting' to a single card each (which bears a printed NAME OF THE ITEM THEY SUMBITTED) - from a blank deck. My performance of this is quite dead, compared to the energy I saw—and perhaps here, I was seeing the trick in the ‘vision’ that Andy wrote it with. This was perhaps like watching a film after you’d read the book – except conversely, the film is very rarely better than the book, as is the case here – these performances outshine the expectations I had from reading Andy’s notes and manuscripts. By a long, long way.

The subtle intonations, the suggestions, the fleecing and the ‘rewriting history’ - Andy even double-bluffs to the speccys about - 'Well, all that dead-cutting thing was baloney, there was no sleight of hand or trickery - it was all about me influencing you.' - class. Sheer class.

And on the subject of cheek, you will see things done that you just would never imagine you'd get away with... down to my personal favourites - Mr Saturday Night, Deep Red Prediction, and Dead of Night. Unless you’re familiar with Andy’s lecture notes, these are effects that will leave you wondering how on earth this was accomplished, and yet, I was still amazed after watching the explanations on Disc 2, which is equally as well performed and amply entertaining. We also get an insight into Andy's passion for acting, and his love of cinematography - which is evident in the naming of some of the effects, and indeed, their nature. His style is quite dark, and the plots and patter for his effects are strangely familiar if you're a fan of gangster/violent movies. I’m sure Andy could actually pen a ‘one-man-show’ with a complete plot. Would be very good, actually!

There's a nice split in the effects themselves, which lie somewhere between good old sleight of hand, gaffs and actual psychology. Oh, and as with a lot of mentalism, there is a little stooging in there too - but you would never know from the performance!

There's comedy. There's trickery. There's some genuinely 'weird' moments. But the underlying magic of both the effects and Andy's persona are what carries the torch. The word ‘quality’ and ‘quantity’ are not usually something I’d use together with this type of material – usually, a ‘quality’ production is compromised by ‘quantity’ and vice-versa. However, this is not the case with Get Nyman. The quality and sheer quantity of magic and performance simply ooze from every part of the DVDs.

This is great stuff, very powerful, very direct. Audience participation in mentalism is usually very necessary (mentalism = mind reading... i.e. you can't do a solo performance, you need a mind to read!) and yet Andy manages to facilitate this without seeming obtrusive, or embarrassing his audience. There's no real pressure, and no real delving. This is just poetry. In fact, it becomes apparent that he respects his audience – and they obviously respect him.

The explanations and the performance notes are very well explained... and any gaffs/props needed are detailed well. I especially like the boldness of Andy's gaffs, such as his keycards and 'short' cards - you will have a hoot at the audacity and plain barefaced cheek of the obvious nature of these! You will learn the ins and outs of each routine, and more, although these are not the sort of explanations I would imagine someone who’s starting out in mentalism would appreciate.

And there’s more! Add to this a small ‘out-takes’ section, which is not only amusing, but also gives more insight into the wonderful character of Andy, and what you have is over four hours of sheer entertainment which you will watch again, and again.

Difficulty? Hard to gauge, really. It's like most mentalism - you don't just buy it and perform it like a packet trick - as you need a lot of experience to be able to sell the effect. Anyone who's read the work of Brown, Jeremay, Knepper, Corinda etc. et al, will be familiar with some if not all of the principles involved. But what we have here is an utterly fresh approach to mentalism - a fun approach! The actual personality, charm, dynamics and fluency of Andy’s performances, down to even the smallest psychological touches, are something we can all learn from. It’s a hugely entertaining, sometimes weird, box of entertainment. His insights into handling the spectators, pacing the performances and being ‘believable’ are worth the price alone. Add to that the awesome routines you’ll be performing and the sheer entertainment value, and you got yourself one serious ‘lump’ of magic.

This isn’t just your regular magic DVD… this is an awesome and intimate evening in with one of our modern-day magic marvels. And it will sit between two of my other ‘magic marvels’ - Green Magic and The Devil’s Picturebook - quite nicely. Congrats on your first DVD Andy. Can't wait for Part II - "Got Nyman? - Get More" (or something like that!)

10 out of 10 in all departments, as far as I'm concerned.


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© Chris Jones, March 2004