Priceless was one of the stand out releases of last year, but I’ve only just got round to reviewing it. Was it worth the wait?

In case you’ve been living under a rock, I should explain the effect. In a nutshell, this is a prediction effect – where a (genuinely) freely chosen price is found to be on the tag of your jacket. It is all built around an amusing gag, since the price tag is attached to a security tag. The effect plays MUCH better than I have just written it. It is a very funny and strong effect.

First impressions – rather less than priceless

The teaching material is all accessed via a dedicated website which also has a discussion area for registered users. This sounds great, but as I arrived my web browser told me it was not a secure site – which doesn’t inspire confidence when you’re about to register your details.

But this alarming start was quickly forgotten when we got into the actual teaching. It’s split into a series of 26 short videos (mainly under 3 minutes long – though a couple of the key ones are rather longer). This is very convenient for re-watching particular parts.

sanders - priceless - reviewA couple of sections relate the history of the effect (the second is well worth watching for a great story from Michel Huot about how the idea for the effect came about).

Next come 4 different live performances – a couple at comedy clubs, some in more walkaround settings. They’re all quite brief (Sanders’ one in particular looks to have been cut a bit – perhaps he’s saving his best gags?) – but give you a good sense of the strength and practicality of the routine.

Other sections describe the props you receive (it comes complete – with all you need) and how to set them up. There is also a ‘hack’ for improving the operation of the main gimmick. The hack is designed to make it quieter in operation – which may or may not be necessary depending on your performing environment. This section is littered with disclaimers in case you break your gimmick. It isn’t a complicated process, but I suppose you do wonder why they didn’t just supply it in the ‘modified’ form.

Several different methods are taught – allowing the tag to appear in different locations – inside or outside your jacket. The ‘Basic’ technique is in many ways the most versatile since it can sit set up in your jacket without affecting your movements at all and is always ready to go. The other options may appear fractionally stronger to the audience, but do have slight limitations due to the set up.

There are helpful thoughts on presentation – suggesting different ways to ‘play’ the effect for a more or less serious presentation. Also thoughts on how to make the most of the ‘reveal’ – watching these (and the live performances) are all very helpful.

Further tips cover walkaround use – including reset – which is pretty swift but not really instant.

I love the idea of the product forum for discussion – but it didn’t appear to be that well used, and discussion looked to have fizzled out when I checked. There were a few helpful thoughts there – but to be honest much of this kind of discussion seems to take place on general magic forums – so I’m not too sure of the value of this feature.

In conclusion

For my money this is a superb release. Fundamentally it contains a very funny gag at the heart of the routine. And the magic is also incredibly strong. It is very easy to do – with a little practise for handling – and gets great reactions. It’s probably not going to be a big feature piece, but I could see it as a great opener.

Priceless is available from the Merchant of Magic for £56.99 (at the time of writing) and comes highly recommended.

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

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