Review of “Elegant Deceptions” (3 DVD Set) by Michael Vincent

This is Volume 3 of “The Classic Magic of Michael Vincent”. I have not watched the first two volumes but have heard Michael’s name pop up in recent time so was interested to see what he had to offer.

The first DVD focuses on his Parlour Show and part of his Close-up Show. Reading the contents of the cover interested me as they contained routines and effects that I’m familiar with and have toyed with or performed before.

His style is very much a solid professional who performs with class and elegance. It was a joy to watch a formal show by a professional and this was a setting like a drawing room show or the Parlour of Prestidigitation at the Magic Castle. It may not seem like a real-life working show environment but one will be able to see that the material will work in a real show setting.

I did feel Michael spoke a bit too much at the start of his show before any magic begun. He also has quite a long patter before each routine, to set the performance. I understand the intention but this approach may be considered a tad dated in this day of age. I do know this is very much a British style but I guess I’m used to a quicker pace.

In the Parlour Show, he starts with Dai Vernon’s “Symphony of Rings”. Well done but nothing ground breaking. Same with the second routine which was the “Crazy Man’s Handcuffs”. A very well done version of David Roth’s “Hanging Coins” was presented next, followed by a “Coins Across”. This allowed Michael to show the finese in his coin techniques.

“The Bill Switch” was fairly standard but a nice presentational twist. I did not really like his “Bill Switch” technique as it did not have the “economical flow of action” that a bill switch should have. Michael Ammar’s technique is better and I perform a variant of this which allows my flow of action to be seamless.

He added varierty with some card magic. He performed John Carney’s “Chilli Deck” as an opener for “The Card Up the Sleeve” and a travellers card routine. It was solid but requires big hands (which Michael). Tom Stone still has the best travellers routine IMO. Oh, Gary Kurtz too but you need to be a master sleight of hand technician to perform it. Incidentally, Michael credits Stone’s routine in Disc 3 during a discussion of the travellers routine.

His finale was “The Ladies Looking Glass” which is a multi card selection discovery using a hand held looking glass. It might have historical significance (at least in his presentation) but it was only OK for me.

Now, after watching the performance of his parlour show, I was looking forward to the discussion & references of the Parlour Show as described on the DVD box cover, however I could not find the discussion & references of the Parlour Show material on Disc 1. There was some discussion on some of the routines performed on the other discs but not enough for someone to learn where or how to go about learning the routines. This I felt was a disappointment and the parlour show should have been described as “Performance Only”.

The other two discs had a focus on close-up magic, specifically cards. “4Play with Foursome” and “The Vegas Hustle” are gambling-themed effects. Not my cup of tea because I felt the plots requires the audience to really pay attention. But, if you like gambling routines and think you can pull off longer routines, you might like this. Once again, Michael’s hands are large so palms and side steals are invisible for him.

“Aces for Experts” is a great routine but requires a palm, false table riffle shuffles and a table faro. If you are confident with these techniques, you can do “Aces for Experts”. This routine will establish your “cred” as a bone fide card hustler. I was familiar with the routine since it is based on Marlo’s “Estimation Aces”. I still can cut to 17 cards 90%+ of the time. “Back to the Future” is also another solid good routine but for the intermediate card worker.

If you like Allan Ackerman, Darwin Ortiz and Derek Dingle, you will like Michael Vincent’s card work. Michael is obviously a serious student of the art and has worked through most of the classics in close-up magic. I have always advocated the study of the classics in magic. Not necessarily with the intention to perform them but the classics all have time-tested and audience-proven elements that make them classics. The structure, techniques, pacing and routing are all important studies for the student of magic, whether street, stage or illusion.

Just UNDER 4 out of 5 stars. I would have rated it highly if the parlour show material was discussed and referenced as advertised. Also, note that quite a few references ar made to techniques taught in previous DVDs that he has released.

You can buy it here from Ning’s sexy Magic Boutique here.

If you did not know, this a great month to order from Magic Boutique! If you spend more than S$150 in Jul 2010, you will get one FREE DVD. On top of that, if you visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/jcsum.magicbabening ) and find the promo code, you can get another FREE DVD If you spend more than S$150 in Jul 2010. So, that is TWO free DVDs.

On top of that, you get a lifetime 10% discount if you sign up as a customer. Check it out!

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About J C Sum

International Headline Entertainer, Content Creator and Investor
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