bicycle cards new arrivalBefore we begin to talk about the latest delivery from BBM, I need to say a word about the latest delivery at towers. Which is a roundabout way of introducing the fact that my second daughter was born last week! This magical appearance was made early and faster than you could say ‘Dai Vernon’s Variant Through the Fist Flourish.’ I mention this partly as a proud dad, and partly to explain why this review is so delayed that the DVD is not that new any more! Anyway, let’s get back to the magic…

Of the making of many tricks there seems to be no end. And the title of this new DVD makes quite a bold claim – to be the ‘ultimate’. Let’s have a brief run down through the effects (slightly briefer than some reviews – see above!) before making a few more general comments.

Ultimate Impromptu Card Magic by Cameron Francis

Ace Thang
This is a nifty little ace location combined with an unexpected in the box sandwich effect. We love that you get yourself ready right in front of their eyes and that all 4 ace revelations look quite different. Quite a lot of moves – but no nasty ones. Liam Montier also provides a variation on Ace Thang which is slightly more technically demanding but looks very fair.

Sly Cheese
Sly Cheese follows on well from the Ace Thang routine. A selected card and pair of aces swap places in the cleanest possible way. Nicely routined.

This is one of the few performances on the disk for real people [I don’t count BBM cronies as real people – though they are preferable to L&L audiences!] – and is all the better for it. 4 of a kind are distributed around body. A card is selected and lost in pack. Then the original 4 of a kind change one by one into the selected card and its mates. An interesting plot and very effective.

Hofwich – a little sandwich effect involving jokers and aces – which more or less works itself. Perhaps a bit involved – not what the late Arthur Setterington would have called a ‘straight line mystery’ – but neat nonetheless.

Zombieland – I suppose this is something like a cross between the cannibal cards and wild card plot on steroids – a whimsical little story based effect with a lot of magic. Requires a few moves but well within reach of all.

Instinct – well-constructed a two card location with a logical plot which manages to combine a transposition for a kicker finish.

Killer Trifecta – a 3 card location including a vanishing deck. All the work is well hidden. As featured on one of the BBMTV episodes…

Elevation – If you haven’t already noticed, Cameron loves his transpositions and this little elevator effect finishes with yet another one. A visual sandwich leads into an elevator/ambitious classic sequence which leads into the final transposition. Nice.

Wilder – a wild card effect with jokers which first adopt the value of a chosen card, and then become the mates of a second card. Uses a count I’d not seen before (the ‘Rumba count’ – which does require a table – though there is a non-table alternative mentioned). Cameron also takes you through an Ollie Mealing variation on the effect with only one selection.

Uppers – the four kings assemble from different parts of the deck and then (here’s the transposition again) turn into two cards selected earlier.

The P***ing contest – a hilarious presentation for magicians and probably quite entertaining for lay people too. 3 magicians trying to outdo themselves with increasingly small packets of card. Lots of magic. Fairly easy to do.

Getting Even – this is a really great small packet version of OOTW involving two spectators. Really like this and truly impromptu (see discussion below!).

Selected Assembly – after the apparent failure of a ‘find a card’ trick, an ace assembly in which the ‘discards’ become the mates of the spectator’s chosen card and the aces morph into the selection itself.

Some general thoughts

It is a good job Liam is there for the explanations because Cameron keeps on forgetting to explain some of the smaller steps until Liam prompts him! That being said, with his help, everything is well explained and well credited.

We love the look and feel – the inkblot graphics were very pleasing and enjoyed the variety of locations for the different effects.

When is impromptu not impromptu?
Magicians have a variety of opinions about this. Some would call a special prop which fits in your pocket and can be carried around all the time ‘impromptu’ because it enables you to perform ‘seemingly impromptu’ miracles. Others would prefer the effect to be possible anywhere without any special equipment at all.

In the context of card magic I suppose it is a little more obvious – it certainly means no gaff cards – and it should mean can be performed with any borrowed deck any time. It is those last two words that will divide some. Many of the effects on this DVD can be performed with a borrowed, shuffled deck, but still require some kind of ‘set up’. Cameron seems happy to do this in full view whilst chatting away to the audience – and I think most of the time you can get away with this. But I’m not sure I would want to do too many of that kind of trick in one sitting. On the other hand, there are some strong effects which would well answer the ‘show us a trick’ request so often thrown at magicians.

I leave the final decision to the magical philosophers, but I think most people would find several routines here which would serve them well.

Available direct from BBM or at your favourite dealer…
[If you’re wanting to buy other things at the same time we reccomend buying from either Merchant of Magic or Magic Nevin. Wherever you go at the moment it is £21.99.]

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