classic carey reviewIt’s a while since we’ve looked at a DVD of pure card magic, but we were keen to do a Classic Carey review, since John Carey has a superb reputation for his well refined card magic and this was our first direct look at his work.

The DVD has been nicely filmed in an under-stated way – which seems to fit with the man from what I can tell. In his introduction he self-classifies the material as intermediate, with some effects suitable for beginners. We would broadly agree with that analysis – though I think most of the routines would be in the range of anyone who has been doing card work for a while. Let’s take a look at the effects.

If we could turn back time

It starts off looking like a clock trick, but to a pleasing presentation the spectator’s card jumps back to its initial location in the deck. This is an easy to do and understated little effect – which is truly impromptu which makes it a great addition to have in your repertoire.

A little oil, a little water

I’ve a bit of a soft spot for oil and water routines and this is a good one. What is nice is that the routine builds up – first with one of each colour, then two and so on. The cards keep on mixing and un-mixing with a nice variety in the phases. This requires a little bit of practise but should be within the range of all but the very beginner.

Think n synch revisited

In effect you have ‘predicted’ a card which the spectator only thinks of. I really like this – it is very easy to do allowing you to focus on presentation – and can be done with a borrowed shuffled deck. Excellent!


A version of the ‘mystery card’ – a chosen and signed card disappears and reappears amongst 3 cards which were placed to one side before the effect even began. This is a very strong effect but does require a couple of trickier moves. Well worth the effort though for the impact.

A Card and a number

A freely shuffled pack, a freely selected card, a freely selected number – and they co-incide. A very clean looking version of one of my favourite plots. A couple of sleights needed to achieve this, but nicely routined so there isn’t too much heat at the critical point. A worthy addition to this oeuvre.

You and me

Is a nice transposition effect where a spectator’s signed card swaps places with your lucky card whilst in their hands. Very direct – easy to follow – but very surprising for the spectator and the magic happens in their hands. It includes a lovely variation on a Paul Wilson force which I think I’ll be using in other contexts too. Great routine.

Personal Ambition

There’s a lot of magic in this entertaining routine. Four indifferent cards become the four queens, and then a mini-ambitious card sequence follows with each queen jumping to the top of the deck. As is becoming the pattern, this is beautifully routined which means the amount of magic is out of all proportion to the effort required.


I can’t tell you what this stands for – it’s too rude! But it is an in-the-hands triumph which is pretty easy to do and hangs together with a time-travel plot. Nice.

Just think

Another variation on the mystery card – this time a merely thought of card appears to have been on the table from the outset. There’s lots to like here, but you do need some confidence to pull it off.

Just whisper

A chosen signed card is located with the use of some jokers. For me this was an unremarkable routine – one of the weaker ones on the disk.


This is a nice three phase sandwich routine. I really like this, apart from the opening production of the jokers – though my reaction there may be conditioned by the audience on his performance who seemed generally underwhelmed! Requires a slightly trickier move in the first phase.

Open for business

Another thought of card to freely dealt to spot in the deck. I love the subtlety of this one – the dirty work is done so far ahead and the procedure seems incredibly fair. Not bad for a minimal setup and a very strong routine.

Mental projection

Mind-reading and the transformation of a blank card into a freely chosen card. It would be easy to overlook this because of its simplicity – but in fact it should play very strongly for a layperson with very little effort on your part. Well worth a punt.

Final thoughts

As you can see there is a lot of material that I like on the disk. But I think it would be sort of material you could easily miss because of John’s under-stated performance and the spectator’s under-stated response. Although the DVD is really nicely filmed, the spectators seem unresponsive – possibly self-conscious about being filmed? I would have loved to see some slightly more ‘real world’ performances rather than this slightly artificial context.

Explanations are at a good pace – though occasionally a different view might have been helpful to teach some of the moves. John is very good at attributing moves/inspirations which I always appreciate. Several moves/techniques recur throughout the DVD – so if you can get them nailed you’ll get several tricks.

John himself comes across as a really nice guy – and I, personally, would love to know more about his thought processes as he put some of these routines together. But there are some good tricks here – I’d be very surprised if you didn’t get several usable items from this DVD. So it comes recommended.

Available direct from – £24.99 (at the time of writing).

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

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