There have been many different variations on the ‘which hand’ effect – so what makes X-Ray different? That’s a harder question to answer than you might first think. So let’s take a look at what it’s all about…
X-Ray is not just a which hand effect. Though it does enable you to do that (if you’re unsure what that means – the spectator can hide a ball or indeed a coin in one of their hands and you are able successfully to divine which hand it is in). But the principle is more versatile than that, so you can also perform a Kurotsuke type effect – where you are able to reveal which spectator in a larger group has picked the only black ball amongst all the white ones.
What do you get?
You receive a smart metal tin which contains the gimmick (in fact 2 versions of part of this – can’t say more without exposure); all the balls you need for which hand or Kurotsuke, and a small bag for either storage or for use in the Kurotsuke effect (though you could replace this with a different bag if you wanted to).
You also receive a link and password to enable you to access online instructions. I have had a few speed issues with accessing the online videos – so you may prefer to download them to watch at your leisure.
The instructional video is just under half an hour long, and by the end of it felt a bit like they were just trying to pad it out – since the method is not complicated to explain. Marc Levelle takes you through the teaching, in discussion with Rasmus, sometimes prompting him when there are extra points to be made. It is pretty much focused on the mechanics – not too much in the way of presentation tips etc.
One of my pet peeves is that it only contains a ‘studio performance’ – and to be honest that isn’t really a performance. I’m sure it is more expensive to go out and about and film real reactions, but it is helpful to get a sense of how an effect plays in the real world.
In addition to the two main presentations various extra ideas are explored. These include substituting other items for the which hand effect and adding items to extend the which hand to a three item version (both of which would require extra items you would need to supply). Given the essentially ‘50/50’ nature of the Which Hand routine, I think the three item reveal is probably a stronger effect. There is also a neat variation on Kurotsuke using a bank note and blank papers.
On the positive side X-Ray utilises a very simple method – so there’s not really anything to go wrong or break. It’s very practical for the real world and you’ll be able to perform it pretty much straight away. It’s a nice touch that they have provided the bag and extra balls for the Kurotsuke effect (which is probably the version I would use) making it a complete package.
The gimmicks are of good quality and (unlike criticisms of the first release of OddBall – though that was addressed in Odd Ball 2) the balls all look similar enough in style not to be suspicious. There’s no ‘reset’ – in fact you could get in and out of this very easily in more or less any situation.
My only real question is, Is it really unique? This method has been used before, though to my knowledge utilising a slightly different ‘gimmick’. They do actually briefly mention the most similar one in remarks at the end, with the suggestion it is a little outdated. A quick whiz around the magical literature would suggest Rasmus probably isn’t the first to come up with this idea of using the particular gimmick he does. But there is little genuinely new in the magic world and it is notoriously hard to say whether a particular release is genuinely unique.
All in all, if you don’t yet have a version of this effect, then I would say it is well worth a look – simple, direct and reliable. If you’re already performing something similar, I’m not sure how much this offers, but its simplicity is its real selling point for me.
X-Ray is available from the Merchant of Magic for £45.99 (at the time of writing).
Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.