I was first introduced to Barries Richardson, like most, through his crtically acclaimed book “Theatre of the Mind”. This is the first time I’m seeing Barrie performing his routines in the first of a 3-vol set by L & L.
Bear in mind, Barrie is a retired professor and not a professional performer, so he presents like a well-spoken academic not an entertainer.
This volume focuses on Platform Magic and not mentalism.
His first routine “Ovation Position” is a great opener for the right show and audience profile. I think he gets away with it because of his wise & senior presence but I do see it suiting some performers as well. I can see it playing well with corporate crowds too. Side note: What is up with mentalists who like to produce a glass of water/ bottle from their jacket?
“Impossible Knot Routine” is a rope routine that involved a knot being tied onto a rope without letting go of the ends. While not particularly strong, I think it will be good as a motivational piece of magic if performed to the right script.
“Airplane Cards” is a cards across routine. One of my favourite cards across methods is Paul Harris’ “Las Begas Leapers” which is based on an Allan Ackerman routine, so I was interested to see this. Unfortunately, I did not like the handling. In fact, he flashed at a critical point in the routine. There is too much dirty work for this effect that can be accomplished with cleaner methods.
“Mind Control” is a multi-spectator interactive routine that involves a prediction in a balloon. I liked the premise but did not his handling as with the above routine. The actions were unmotivated unfortunately and I think better structure would benefit the technical aspect of the routine.
“The Inexplicable Bill in Lemon” – I was dissappointed with his handling. I’m not sure if it is his age that causes his hands to shiver but Barrie seems to have lots of problems handling his props, especially small ones. As a result, there seems to be a lot of suspicious fidgeting with the bill and envelopes without reason or motivation. In fact, I could feel the awkwardness in the audience doing this point. Besides that, you need to both tear and sign a bill, which many people do not like to do. Again, there are many other routines for this effect that are superior.
“The Incredible Water Glass Suspension” was a great demonstration and is a fooler. It was one of the strongest effects in the DVD. Barrie teaches you how to construct this mini illusion and what was impressive was the fact that his glass is very big and look heavy. The construction requires some precision work but not out of reach if you are serious about performing this.
If you are looking for material that is good for educators, trainers and corporate performers, I think you will find value in his script, material and presentations. But if you are an entertainer looking for solid material for entertainment shows, the material may be lacking here. 2 out of 5 stars.
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