Silent Assistant – the latest must-have magical accessory or a dumb helper? Read our review to see what we think!
What is it
Given that the advertising video (see end of review) essentially shows exactly what this is, I feel at liberty to be explicit in my description of the Silent Assitant. It is a little like half a Sanada Gimmick with a magnet inside. If that means nothing to you, then it is a small piece of moulded plastic shaped to go around the lower joint of your finger.
If you’ve got the same colour skin as mine then it is a pretty good match. Depending on your skin tone you might want to try applying some make-up to it. But as with the venerable Thumb Tip – people really don’t notice what they’re not looking for – and given normal lighting conditions this really is going to fly by.
Why Silent Assistant?
The sales blurb suggests that this is designed to capitalise on the strengths of a PK ring, but with two major advantages. Firstly, it is all but invisible – so doesn’t even draw the (limited) attention that a ring does. Secondly, the material it’s made from helps to mask the sound when something is attracted to it.
And I have to say I buy both of these arguments. I’m not much of a jewellery man – so I certainly appreciate the hiddenness of it. The design also means it can be put on and ditched fairly easily – leaving you completely clean. There is also the further potential advantage that you’re less likely to fry your credit cards if you’re not wearing it all the time!
What’s it for?
Well as suggested, anything you can use a PK ring for. The package you receive includes the Silent Assitant gimmick and three small magnets which you can attach to other things. Also a link to an online tutorial of just over an hour. This explains the thinking behind the gimmick and some ideas on getting the gimmick in and out of play (though beware – some of these ideas require craft work and further purchases).
There are quite detailed instructions for using the gimmick to change one item into another. These include some useful thoughts on the psychology of ‘emptiness’ etc. I suggest these would be very helpful for someone starting out in magic. The presenter is a bit of a relentless talker and to my mind over-explains. But I’m getting old 😊
There are also three ‘routines’ taught silently. Video with annoying background music and captions on top. The Dual Transpo effect is a clever idea, but requires quite a bit of prep and I’m honestly not sure how good it would look in the real world. The Cap in Bottle feels more practical, but still requires a certain amount of preparation. Best of the three was the ‘Casual Chop Cup’ using a paper ketchup container and a coin and a chocolate for a bonus load. I’m a bit of a sucker for chop cup routines, but I thought this idea though not necessarily this specific implementation of it) could work best of all.
But you could use it for all sorts of things. It strikes me it might work quite well with Angelo Carbone’s wonderful The Gift – though I didn’t grab mine to check it out.
Some people have complained about the strength of the magnet – I didn’t find any issues in my own experimentation – but I guess you could put stronger magnets in the items you are ‘attracting’ if that’s really an issue for you.
My minor gripe is that there are no live performances to watch. I just think this is unforgiveable on a magic release. We want to see it working in the real world please. I know that you’ll edit it to make it look better than it really is, but give us some idea!
The second is more significant. I think it is way too expensive. To put it in perspective, a very similar though slightly less elegant solution called Blista would set you back only 30% of the cost. Or, you could buy a Sanada Gimmick (for about 7% of the cost) and chop it down and add your own magnet!
So I’m left in two minds. I think this is a potentially extremely useful little gimmick. It overcomes several genuine issues with an existing gimmick and is implemented well. I would just like to see it about half the price…
Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.
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