The Joy of Magic (PAL or NTSC VHS)

Michael Vincent

90 minutes

Reviewed by Graham Nichols

For those who see magic videos as a consumable, rather than an education, a video containing the explanation of a single effect may come as a financial jolt. But to confine our thoughts to this narrow spectrum, is probably what is holding our own magic back.

As a keen follower of Mr Vincent's artistry I have come to expect a very high standard while watching him work, and this latest lecture does not disappoint. This is quality, not quantity, boys and girls.

The concept of the tape is that of an inspirational springboard, demonstrating the power of strong magic, and the joy it can bring both performer and audience, when misdirection (remember his previous lecture?), audience control, spectator selection, timing, routining, style and the zillion other elements that turn an effect into a moment of wonder. Leading from the front by example.

Foregoing the latest packet 'fads' Michael takes the classics and shows that they are as strong as ever in this new millennium, given the appropriate care and attention. The Cups and Balls, Dr Jacob Daley's Last Trick, John Ramsey's Cylinder and Coins, and the Conus Aces are presented as gleaming gems, with the Conus Aces being the brightest jewel of all. This is the effect which is explained in great detail, and who's new handling by Mr Vincent makes it a show stopper.

Revived from the pages of 'The Royal Road to Card Magic', the routine takes on a new multi-phase dimension. Just like the aforementioned Cups and Balls, the routine's elements could easily stand proudly by themselves. But, together they become a symphony for the pasteboards. If elegant card magic rings your bell, this routine definitely demands the time and trouble to learn. Those with a short attention span, or are looking for a quick easy fix, need not apply.

The sheer elegance of the card handling is a lesson in itself. I found watching Michael place and select cards from the table's surface a lesson in style in itself. As Vernon noted: detail is everything. The defining line between great and "so-so" magic.

I intend to take the time to learn this routine, as it will give me a really powerful tool with which to astound those who I present it to. In performing it I will be standing on the shoulders of a modern giant.

No playing card ties, no poor technique masking even poorer sleights, no patronisng or insulting patter, no faster than the speed of light or 'I'm just doing this routine from the 1,000th time' presentation, just magic wonder and enchantment. Man, it doesn't get much better than this.


Graham Nichols, May 2003


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