When new five pounds notes arrived in the UK, I remember thinking “How long will it be until magicians start releasing new effects which take advantage of their features?” To the best of my knowledge Jimmy Strange’s Parallax was one of the first.

The idea is very simple – the hologram on the bank note is used to reveal a chosen card. Of course – how you dress up that idea into a decent routine is up to you.

What do you get?

You get the very simple gimmicks – I don’t think I’m giving too much away when I say they are holographic stickers which have been designed to fit on a note. I say they’re simple – but they’re not the sort of thing you’re going to be able to make yourself! There are 2 different stickers – to reveal 2 different cards – and you get 2 of each. A steady hand is needed to set up!

You also get the link to about 36 minutes of online teaching. This is un-flashy shooting but perfectly adequate for the task. On the parts featuring Jimmy Strange you don’t see anything other than his hands – which I always find slightly disconcerting. But explanations are clear enough.

Routines and Teaching

jimmy strange - parallax - reviewYou will have gathered, I hope, that to perform Parallax it is going to be necessary to force a card. Strange teaches four simple forces – a slip cut force, a riffle force, a Hindu shuffle force and one he has no name for but I am going to call a kind of static cull!

If you’re a complete beginner you will find these explanations helpful – if you’ve been around in magic any length of time you’ll probably already have a favourite force. He and I definitely have different views about what looks ‘natural’ in this area – but find something that fits you. (If you need help with learning how to force a card, we recommend Liam Montier’s excellent Forces Project – you can read our review here)

Four different routines are taught. The first uses a kind of challenge/bet mind-reading presentation. You may say I over-think things, but to me having the reveal on the note at the end slightly takes away from the ‘mind reading’ aspect. Perhaps another alternative would be to present it as some kind of subliminal influence?

Towards the end of this routine he teaches a method to transform the ordinary hologram into the prediction one – that feels like a more ‘magical’ effect which could make a good kicker to more of a mentalism approach.

The next routine uses both predictions and two chosen cards and uses a stripper deck.

jimmy strange - parallax - review - hologramThe third starts with a coin bend (and you’ll need your own method for this) – which then had the name of the chosen card appear on it – which was then found on the fiver too. To me this was just a totally incoherent routine.

A fourth routine involves two spectators choosing the same card – which is then revealed on the note.

Final Thoughts

I really like the concept and the gimmick is well produced, and with a good presentation should receive strong reactions. But if I’m honest (and I always try to be on my reviews) – I don’t really like any of the presentations on the instructional video. The best things about the routine are a couple of little tips on the way and a wonderful story about exploiting the Parallax gimmick at an opportune moment. But I don’t see this absence as a major problem – you simply need to come up with your own routine – which is always the best way anyway!

I like the idea of keeping a ‘loaded’ note in your wallet so you are ready to perform an apparently ‘impromptu’ miracle at any opportunity. But make sure you don’t spend it – since it would be a shame to have to buy some new gimmicks!

If you want to come up with your own routines for Parallax it is available from Merchant of Magic for £20 (at the time of writing)

Many thanks to MagicShop.co.uk who kindly provided the review copy.

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