This is a slightly embarrassing admission, but I thought I was going to have to write this review with a Himber Ring stuck on my finger. More of that anon. But let’s get going with this review of Paul Romhany’s Merge.
Merge is a close up presentation for the classic (Himber) linking finger ring effect. Yes, you did read that correctly, it is a close up presentation. If you’ve been around in magic any time you’ll know that is unusual – since almost every other version of the routine put out (and there is a comprehensive history/bibliography of the effect included) has been designed for stage use.
A comprehensive and lavishly illustrated 46 page instruction booklet (with a link and password for an online video tutorial), a gimmicked and a matching regular Himber Ring (wedding band style). I was so pleased to receive an instruction booklet to learn from – though was surprised by a few typos which suggested it could have done with a better proof-read.
The ring is well made and works well. I’m going to take a punt on the it being a P ½ (in English money) – since it is an almost perfect fit for my (relatively small) ring finger. It seems that the equivalent finger on my right hand is a little chubbier hence my earlier comments.
If the ring doesn’t fit you, or you have your own Himber Ring already, there is nothing (in principle) about the routine which would stop you using that – though there is a feature of this particular style ring (can’t say more without risking exposure) which does make the routine easier.
I like this a lot. It has been really well thought out and there is excellent cover/motivation for all the moves. The routine only uses two borrowed rings – plus your own ring (a deviation from most of the stage versions, for obvious reasons). Whilst this might seem less than satisfactory from the pure magic point of view, Paul has an excellent justification built in to his routine for doing this.
On that note, a very slight negative. The justification does tie in with the use of a ring on/off rope routine beforehand – and it would have been nice to have included at least a basic one of these, or some references to where you might find one. I’m sure many reading this will already have their own routine they use – but for the sake of completeness this would have been a nice touch.
The linking and unlinking of the rings does feel to be very magical and the handling (which is not too difficult) allows the normal ring to be switched in and out of play almost indetectably. Another bonus is that you can perform this more or less surrounded.
This is an excellent contribution to the many Himber Ring routines out there and to my mind is a practical solution for how to perform this powerful effect in a close-up context. It takes hardly any space in your pocket, is instantly re-set, and involves your audience on an emotional level by the use of their rings. What’s not to like?
Available direct from MagicShop.co.uk for £42.99 (at the time of writing)
Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.