Senti-Mentalism is my first direct encounter with the mental magic of Luca Volpe, and I have to say my first impressions were very positive. He has a positive and engaging performing style and it is great to see a DVD which includes real-life performances for all of the main effects. We’ll run through the effects before making some general comments.
luca volpe senti-mentalism review

Unlock your dream

This is a lovely variation on the ‘seven keys’ theme where the spectator both manages to find the only key that unlocks a padlock and the performer is also able to reveal a ‘dream’ which the spectator has only written down. The method is simple, the props readily available, and the emotional hook superb. A strong and practical routine.

Emotional drawing

This is a drawing duplication routine using blank business cards. Again, the methods are not radically new, but the routine has been carefully put together so that it is easy to do and fooling.

The mind journey

Combining several different principles in one clever effect, your spectator really does go on a journey in their mind and you have correctly predicted the elements of it. This is Luca’s take on the classic ‘one ahead’ idea – and even if you don’t use the routine there are some clever bits worth stealing.

PIN Number Revelation

Does what it says on the tin. Using a small variation on one of the principles already explored in unlock your dreams. I quite liked this although like some other reviewers I see some small inconsistency in the premise. The ‘reveal’ involves the spectator reading a random series of numbers from which you pick up your ‘cues’ – but since the spectator doesn’t read every possible digit out, it may (as it did in performance) raise more questions in the mind of the spectator. This is a small thing, and if you felt the same as I do, you could easily alter the art work to make it more logical.

Crystals Prediction

The spectator mixes up some crystals whilst the performer’s back is turned and in the end the position of the crystals is seen to match a prediction made earlier. Although there are a couple of nice touches, for me this is one of the weaker effects – both in terms of ’emotional connection’ (I’m not sure the whole ‘attuned with the crystals idea’) and in terms of actual strength of effect. If you’ve been in mentalism for a while you’ll probably have seen this kind of routine before. On the positive side, it is essentially self-working. And he describes a variation with a marker pen which works better for me.

The Key of your mind

This is an elaborate dressing for (amongst other things) the haunted key. It is combined with a revelation of a name and the discovery of a business card and uses a very bold peek! A nice little routine.

Subliminal message

In which you apparently influence a spectator’s choice of envelope via a subliminal message. Requires a little bit of confidence in performance to make this work (as much mentalism does). I do like the plot but I could also imagine it easily becomes more of a ‘puzzle’ than a moving magical experience.

Bonus section

The first part of this is a re-performance and explanation of some of the effects in conversation with Paul Roffman. I’m not sure that they really provide much extra information or insight so I’m not really sure why it was included.

One extra effect is explained – Energy wave – which is a good example of how ‘dressing’ and presentation can change an old puzzle into a more magical effect. You predict which hand a spectator will hold a crystal in and I suppose make a small reading at the same time. I like the concept, though his use of ‘square’ and ‘round’ (you’ll have to watch for yourself) is potentially unflattering language (in English at least) so I might use a different wording.

There is also an explanation of In&Out 2.0 – more detail on the business card peek which is an element of a number of the effects.

In conclusion

If you’ve read my other reviews you’ll know I am a bit of a stickler for crediting and since so much of the work on this DVD depends on principles/ideas of others it would have been nice to have more than the occasional reference to some of these.

The filming on the DVD is of good quality – but it does plays through in an odd order. The performance and explanation of Subliminal Message are the segments which are out of order – I wonder if he’s trying to tell us something!  The DVD also includes the necessary graphics for the business card effects, though you could easily knock up your own variations if you have any capabilities on a computer.

There are some strong routines on here, but also a few of less quality. I think if you are just starting out in mentalism you would immediately get some workable material, and if you’ve been around in mentalism for a while you might still get the odd idea for a performance angle or premise. And it’s worth noting that if you’re just interested in the business card peek – that is available as an instant download on it’s own for only £3.50.

Available direct from Merchant of Magic for £24.99 (at time of writing).

Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.

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