Regular readers will know that in addition to good close up magic we love a bit of mentalism here at bicycle-cards.co.uk – and as a die-hard book lover, book tests tick a lot of boxes. But the question is, does the Jekyll & Hyde Test from Scott Olgard & Luke Jonas do the same?…
What is it?
Well, it’s a book test. What I love about it is the premise – because Jekyll & Hyde is a well-known title, the explanation that this is your favourite childhood book and you have memorised it makes some sense and provides a plausible hook for the routine.
There are three phases – you can reveal the first line from a (genuinely) free choice of page; you can reveal a paragraph on a page arrived at ‘randomly’; you can reveal a specific word from a specific place on a random page. There are also some extra bonus effects which allow you to do an intriguing ‘drawing duplication’ where you are actually drawing a spectator’s memory.
There is a lot to like here – and the creators have worked hard at building a lot of clever subtleties into the Jekyll & Hyde test book – it will certainly pass normal handling. It looks like the sort of cheap paperback you could pick up anywhere (though you might want to age it a bit? Or perhaps justify that your childhood edition fell apart because you read it so much?!). I love the premise – to my mind it gives much more justification for the effect. I also love receiving the instructions in the form of a written book – allowing you to peruse them at your leisure.
I’m not so sure about the relative strength of the different phases – and wonder whether that is the order I would actually use them in if I were performing this. For me, the bonus phase is one of the strongest and most emotionally connecting – though it will require some confidence and performance skills.
The whole routine does make some demands of the performer. I have no problem with that, but it does make the advert a smidgen misleading since “no complicated memory work” is evidently a subjective phrase. There is memory work involved – primarily for the first phase – and although lots of detail is given about how to go about this (and I suppose you could use a crib if you thought creatively about it).
I think the pricing, demands, and even the fact that it advertises itself as a limited edition (of only 500 copies) probably pushes this into the arena of the more serious performer or pro rather than the hobbyist. But I see no reason why the investment of a bit of time in this wouldn’t result in a powerful routine which would connect well with your audience. And that’s what it is all about at the end of the day.
The Jekyll & Hyde Test is available for £93.99 (at the time of writing) from MagicShop.co.uk.
Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.