Olympic Reviews

Olympic Reviews

Sunday, 25 May 2014

B’Voque - Mark Elsdon Review

What is it?
You and the participant have a conversation where they describe the contents of an envelope and you then open it to show they are correct.  The effect is a card reveal really, Four Card Brainwave with some nice touches that make it slightly more practical for me.

Let's see how this rates!

Why this instead of similar products?
It’s nearly a mental magic effect… it’s on the line really.  The difference here for me is that this can get on the mentalism side and stay there.  There is a great deal of freedom which I think takes away from the ‘mental magic’ side of it and makes it permissible on the mentalism side.
Why instead of other Brainwaves?  It’s gimmick free, it’s very free.
I have always envied magicians and their packet tricks, this feels like the mind reading equivalent really.
I know, I know, there are plenty of mental packet tricks but that’s the problem, they are mental magic and tricks (broadly speaking of course).  I do think this gets away from that though and fills the gap.

One thing i really like about this is that it’s a good example of getting a lot of reveals from essentially the same point (something mentalists could do more), it gets a ‘magic’ type reaction from a mentalism effect.

The envelope can be out from the start, it contains no gimmicks, you have a chat and then get 3 reveals!  The conversation can go slightly smoother at times but it doesn’t take away from the effect if it doesn’t go 100% the way you want.  You can talk over it and still get the 3 reveals.

Does it work?
It’s very reliant on performer in my opinion, one of a few things will happen:

- You open it and are angry that it is too simple and doesn’t work
- You open it, see it could work but try it a couple of times and it doesn’t work
- You open it, see it could work and use what Mark says on the DVD to perform it successfully

If you don’t get the words right, or the pace, or get muddled up, or don’t have the attention of the audience, this might not work - though that could be said for anything really.

If you learn what is on the DVD, the worst that could happen is that this comes off as a magic trick - not a bad thing, but this is a mentalism blog and as such, looking like a magician is not something i want to do - this might be PERFECT for you to perform and come off as a magician, or the guy with a cool idea at the pub.

How adaptable is it?
It’s gimmick free, so you can use any colour or type of envelope and any type of card.  It does rely on playing cards as it’s theme.  I’m not seeing an easy way to adapt this to other techniques, but if you want to do that, i don’t understand why you would by this effect.  It’s very explicit about what it is.

There is an obvious technique at play here (hint: it’s in the title) and seeing Mark talk about that is always a treat.  Mark has been talking about his book on the subject for years, when it does finally get released (this effect is said to be part of it) he may well be the master of it though i reserve the right to say this until we do finally get our hands on the book.  You don’t really learn any transferable principles of the technique here, it’s all related to the cards used.

You could reduce the number of reveals too, you could just have the one, or two.  You get three included but perhaps reducing them might make this seem more of a mentalism effect and take another step away from the magic.  I think this would come at the cost of entertainment though, the three reveals are nice (The Three Reveals is starting to sound like a 1970s funk band).

The effect starts with the type of card named - so it doesn't start with an imaginary full deck, though there are a couple of very recent products that you could stick on the front of this to get you down to the desired card.

If you want to use a specific card for some reason, you can do that and won't have to look for a new gimmick or anything.  You get provided everything you need but i know sometimes i want certain cards for certain things.

How is it as a package?
25 Minute DVD - doesn’t need to be any longer.
The package includes cards and envelope which is nice, but ultimately everyone would have the cards at home and on the DVD Mark says that he is sure you can get the cards from the company you bought the download from, funny how wrong that seems as i watch the DVD with supplied cards in hand.
Still, it’s nice to get the cards and i don’t think it added much to the price, it was about £12 when i got it a couple of months ago (as far as i can remember).

Will I use it?
I will be using it, in a walk around set, again to fill the packet type effect gap that our magician friends fill so often.
Thanks in this case to being so reliant on the performer, i can perform this as me and get it the way i want with very little work.
It could get muddy, if you don’t pull it off effectively you will either come of as a magician (might be fine for you), where this looks like a puzzle, OR, it falls apart and people get angry and violent.
Mark does his best on the DVD to guide you away from these mistakes and you have more than enough information to perform it effectively.

If I lost everything, would I get it again?
Yes - it’s not the best thing ever but it’s a little envelope i can stick in my pocket and get a few minutes out of with very little work.

Very reliable and very cost effective.

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I can't guarantee I will get a chance to review everything but I will do my best!

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