Wayne Dobson's Once Upon a Time – reviewHere’s our review of the latest release from MagicTao – Wayne Dobson’s Once Upon a Time.  There was definitely some kind of Tao going on in the timing of this because we have only recently read Dobson’s Six Masterpieces – where this effect was previously published.

The underlying effect is based on Simon Aronson’s Shufflebored (we saw another cracking variation on this theme in the Ryan Shultz DVD we reviewed earlier this year) – but as with most of Wayne Dobson’s recent work this is a completely ‘hands off presentation’.

What do you get?

A nicely printed prediction booklet (about which more later) and a DVD featuring a performance by Michael Sullivan and all the explanation you could possibly need.  The DVD uses simple but elegant graphics and is very easy to navigate.  You need to supply your own (regular) deck of cards.

What do we think?

This is effectively a self-working trick.  It does requires some set up –  but all this is  very clearly explained on the DVD.  And once you’ve set up, reset is quick (though not quite instant).  The nature of the effect means anyone can do it – you just need a little practise to get the procedure right (and this is covered several times on the DVD).

You really need a table to perform this and it takes a little time.  The slightly ‘procedural’ nature may put some off and there is a certain amount of counting and dealing involved.  However, the novelty of the little printed book and the premise of the story (‘Once Upon a time…’) really helps here – so assuming you have an ounce of presentation skills I think this would play well for a lay audience.

As mentioned earlier, this principle can be seen in other effects, so in many ways what you are paying for here is the nicely printed prop and the presentational ‘hook’ of a story book.  The printing is of good quality and on a nice glossy paper – so with careful handling it will last a reasonable length of time.  If you are performing a lot, it might be worth getting a back up copy since this will eventually tear or deteriorate.

Costas’ explanation is always clear and careful.  For my money he almost gives you more information than you need for what is essentially a self-worker.  But actually sometimes it is the simplest things we need to go through carefully.  There is a useful little tips section which covers a couple of handling points to look out for.

Does the story end well?

Yes!  We can see ourselves getting some use out of this.  If you don’t already have access to a version of Shufflebored then this is definitely worth a look.  If you already use it and like the presentation angle here, then it is very reasonably priced to get you the prop and the DVD.  A big thumbs up from Bicycle-cards.co.uk

Once Upon a Time is available from MagicShop.co.uk (with thanks to MagicTao who kindly supplied the review copy) for only £12.99 (at the time of writing).

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