It’s hard to know where to begin in a review of Jermay’s Mind. We certainly can’t do justice to a 4 dvd set in a relatively small review – this is about about 8 ½ hours of material. So we’re going to limit ourselves to some general comments and perhaps zone in on a couple of specific details.
Let’s start with the prosaic. It’s a really nicely produced box set – graphics are appropriate and interesting, the menu structure on the DVD is clear, the background music is inoffensive, and the explanations outstanding (much more of this later). If I was going to be really picky, it seems slightly odd that the when you open out the 4 DVD holder, the DVD listings are in an odd order when you open it – reading 3,4,1,2 – which is neither logical, nor corresponds to the order when you fully open the folder. But this is more or less irrelevant – but the border-line OCD in me felt the need to mention it.
Rarely have I enjoyed watching a magic DVD as much as this set. Jermay himself is a consummate performer and a joy to watch. It is great to see some live performances with real audiences which show him at his best (though he’s still VERY good when in front of magicians!). His use of language is beautiful – he is confident and winsome – to my mind it is in every way an extraordinary performance. Using only minimal props he keeps his audience spellbound by simple force of personality. He is engaging emotionally at every point but also with a light humour. You will learn an enormous amount simply by watching the manner in which he does what he does – never mind the method.
The performances and lectures and explanation are all nicely shot – the soft fuzzy edges adding a traditional feel; the background music which has been added to a live performance is slightly odd but surprisingly soothing.
One of the amazing things about Luke Jermay is the detail in which he appears to think everything through – and all the subtleties are explained. Classics like the Tossed Out Deck are given the Jermay touch and his routine is beautifully constructed to become even stronger.
Very clear and detailed explanation.
He includes incredible detail on ‘Touching on Hoy’ and its variations. On the way, I love his frankness about some of our hang ups (e.g. about psychological forces). After a blow by blow run through, he then recaps at speed, helping you not lose the wood for the trees. Everything is covered. Then variations applying the underlying principle to different presentations.
There is a long section on his approach to the Q&A routine. You may be disappointed if you’re looking for ‘hard’ techniques (though there are some) – instead there are many ‘soft’ techniques and cold-reading type principles – to develop yourself. He’s clearly very bright! And perceptive. And I love the way he demonstrates a wonderful confidence on stage and the freedom to explore (magicians might say ‘jazz’) routines as he goes.
I particularly enjoyed the drawing duplication routine – and again you see the way he works from a set of principles which undergird various routines, but the morph into (from the spectator’s point of view) entirely different effects due to the presentational gambits. Presentation is a massive thing on this set and there is much to learn here. For example he has a brilliant take on the classic OOTW which overcomes many of the ‘problems’ inherent in the original version.
In addition to the live performance before real people (!) there are a couple of lectures from different Session conferences, and another lecture including some general questions and answers from a group in Newcastle. I loved the interview with Max Weber – though there seemed to be some lip-synch issues!
Many of the principles used in effects are discussed in detail e.g. whole section on Dunninger principle. There are many valuable insights here – and even if you don’t end up performing any of his routines there should be plenty of food for thought for your own.
He touches on many of the classic mentalism questions – should you use playing cards in mentalism? What should you claim (or what disclaimers should you make)? You may be surprised by some of his answers – but again they will make you think.
There’s a very funny moment which is almost like an ‘outtake’ when the film runs out and Jermay seems astonished by how long he’s spoken about the card trick!
And if you want to know which ESP Deck he recommends I can save you the bother of watching – it is the ESP Origins Deck!
This is an outstanding collection and well worth watching by anyone with any interest in mentalism and probably if you are simply a student of good performance and presentation. A word about the ‘level’ of the material – some is ‘technically’ easy – but experience is needed to perform some of these effects in the real world – they will require confidence and the ability to think on your feet and decent presentation skills to pull them off. I am not saying anything new here – this is true of pretty much any magic – but never more so than in the arena of mentalism.
If we were the sort of site that awarded stars, this would get the highest 5-star rating – unreservedly recommended. Available from MagicShop.co.uk for £70.50 (at time of writing).
Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.