Although, as a rule, we review effects and material that are brand new, we sometimes make exceptions for material which has been around longer. This is usually because we’ve discovered (or re-discovered) something that we think is worth sharing, or else we’ve found something which seems to have been neglected in the wider magic press. These two volumes of the Collected Card Magic of Mark Leveridge seem to fit into both these categories.
Special Update – see the end of the article for an exclusive deal!
Mark Leveridge has been producing and marketing magic tricks for over 30 years and now he has decided to collect together the best of the card routines that he has published or sold over the years in a projected series of 4 volumes.
Volume one features 15 routines. Space doesn’t permit going into massive detail on each item, but I will describe the effects and offer some thoughts on several of them.
I’m surprised you didn’t notice – this routine shows off what we perceive to be one of Mark’s great strengths which is in clever routining to simplify method. A lot of magic happens as a chosen card is repeatedly located and in a climax becomes the only card with a face in an otherwise blank deck. You end clean and there is no heavy finger-flinging involved.
Name dropper is a lovely effect where a spectator’s signature jumps off a playing card on to your business card. It is a great way of getting your business card out and looks very magical. With almost no re-set it looks to have real potential for walkaround magic.
Switchback demonstrates another of Mark’s passions – magic with envelopes. This is a prediction effect which serves as a vehicle for demonstrating a useful switching envelope. The plot here – of the magician getting it wrong and then everything being corrected by magic seems to come up quite regularly in these two volumes.
Give me a number is a long lost cousin of an ACAAN effect – really a named card at given number. It requires a special deck and a bit of memory work. This one doesn’t really do it for me though it is not unpractical…
Instant Card Reversal – not a great mystery but a nice quickie which is one of the few effects in the book which can be performed impromptu with a borrowed deck. I can see myself using this.
The Unprint Button – a nice little packet trick where four cards become ‘unprinted’ with an extra surprise at the end. The plot here suits Mark’s rather gentle performance style very well. I like it, but it wouldn’t suit everyone.
Cards on Parade – just when you thought there couldn’t be any more variations on the Parade of the Kings/B’wave type effect here’s one more.
It’s a giveaway – this is the second routine in the book utilizing playing card sized business cards – this time in a neat in the spectator’s hand transposition. The two of them together are seriously tempting me to get some cards made up…
New Aces Through Newspaper – Does what it says on the tin. Not a plot which inspires me (nor suits my normal working environment) but a clean piece of table magic.
Thought Indicator Cards – a blank card prints itself to match a spectator’s selection. Really a vehicle for a nice visual little move.
Spin Out – after correctly reading the spectator’s mind to reveal his chosen card, the card itself then spins out of the boxed deck. There’s nothing amazingly innovative here but it is a very pleasing little effect which would work well in a strolling situation and could be done with a borrowed deck.
Pacey Aces – a very clean four ace effect utilising some faked aces.
Three Card Tricky – a queen vanishes from an envelope leaving your business card in its place amongst two other cards and re-appears in a previously empty wallet. This is ‘straight line’ magic which is easy to follow and easy to do.
Ultimate Jumbo Stretch – A jumbo card stretches between two others with a surprise kicker.
Brainstormer – this is a very nice effect where you and the spectator both freely select a card from a blank faced deck, and then the cards magically swap places and print themselves. A funny combination of ‘Do as I do’ and the ‘Brainwave’ and ‘Nudist Deck’. Well worth a look.
This is a nice mixed bag of card magic and I think there really is something for everyone here. Many of the ideas lend themselves to your own variations. If I had a criticism it would be that many of the effects require special decks or set ups which make them ‘one trick wonders’ – but to some extent that is a payoff for keeping the working simple and the effects direct.
Mark is good on crediting sources and inspirations and provides clear (though brief) explanations of all the necessary moves and some alternative handlings are provided. He writes clearly and concisely which is always a bonus.
I think there is a danger that some magicians will avoid this kind of magic because it feels too straightforward – it is clear that Mark is more interested in magic that plays strongly for lay-people than in finger-flinging or impressing magicians. But to my mind that is the right way round – so I would encourage you to take a look. Only £15 and available direct from Mark Leveridge Magic.
Review of Volume 2 will follow shortly…
Special Update! Mark is offering a special deal exclusively for readers of this site. The normal price is £15 each volume, but he is offering us the two volumes together for £20. This special deal is valid until the end of June 2013. To get the deal, you need to order direct from Mark Leveridge Magic and put ‘Bicycle Cards’ in the ‘Additional Comments’ box at the foot of the checkout page. You will initially pay the full price and then Mark will refund to your payment card £10.