As I may have mentioned before, Sean Goodman is one of the nicest blokes in magic, and so it is great to have a look at his latest release – Secret Servante. As its name may suggest, Secret Servante is a device which the audience should never see but which enables you to ditch or retrieve small objects at will. It is ideally suited for working with coins, folded playing cards, rings or indeed anything of a comparable size.
The device arrives neatly packaged in an understated black box – and when you open it you may well wonder what on earth you have bought! Instead of the usual instructions or DVD, there is a business card inside with the details of a secret website which contains all the documentation you need to get using the Secret Servante.
There is a wonderfully honest section on the development of the gimmick and then detailed descriptions of how it works, how to attach it, how to use it, and a few illustrative routines using the device.
There is an elegant simplicity to the device itself – which I would say is typical of Sean’s thinking – he never overcomplicates things. One of the great advantages of this device over some similar devices on the market is that it will attach and detach from you clothing very easily. So you can move it from jacket to jacket, shirt to shirt, or wherever else you might use it.
Do make sure you get it the right way round though. When I first put it on I wasn’t paying attention – not only does it make the device almost impossible to use, it makes it attach much less securely. Can’t say more without tipping the method – suffice to say you are unlikely to be as daft as me!
In operation I have to say it is extremely intuitive. The required move to ditch or retrieve requires almost no movement and the object is neatly deposited just where you need it. There is very little ‘talk’ – even using coins – which is another big bonus. I think this is a very useful little device which will lend itself to many applications.
I try not to spend a whole review gushing, so I should mention two tiny negatives. Firstly I do wonder how long the device will last. There isn’t much to ‘go wrong’ but I do wonder whether the plastic it is made from will perish at some point. It’s the ‘hinges’ I’m worried about. It’s hard to comment properly without giving it some really robust testing which we haven’t had time to do – but I would have thought you would certainly get several years out of it. Sean assures me he has no worries on that front – and to be honest I was working quite hard to find something negative to say!
Secondly, two of the routines performed required additional (dealer) items in order to perform them. They are both good routines (and extra items worth having!) but it would have been nice to include some routines which don’t require any extra props (there is a coin ‘routine’ but it’s not really a routine more of a demonstration of the device). I’m sure if you’ve been around in magic any length of time you’ll quickly come up with uses (and I suppose you are buying a utility rather than a trick) – but it wouldn’t have taken much extra effort to add one.
But these are very minor quibbles and I would suggest that if you do any kind of walkaround magic then this is going to be a really useful device for you. Why not get a couple and have one attached on each side? Richard Pinner who knows a thing or two about magic called it “Possibly the most important gimmick so far this century.” And Nick Einhorn, Michael Vincent and Jon Allen are all fans. So don’t just take my word for it. But do go and buy one!