"Underhanded" by Paul Brook (Review)

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"Underhanded" by Paul Brook (Review)

Postby eveningzoo » May 3rd, '10, 22:53



Hello,
This is my first review so lets be gentle now :P

The Effect
What Paul says ::

The performer removes a single folded post-it note from his pocket. There is nothing else in his hands and he can show both hands to be empty except for the folded post-it note.

He closes his hand around the folded post-it and keeps both hands in full view the entire time.

The participant freely names any one of thirteen drinks. She takes the billet, and opens it and the only thing written on the billet is her chosen drink.

Being a utility gimmick you will be able to use up to thirteen of anything for the participant to select. You are not limited to drinks!

Cost
£15 + Free postage


Difficulty
(1=easy to do, 2=No sleights, but not so easy, 3=Some sleights used,
4=Advanced sleights used, 5=Suitable for experienced magicians only)

3

Review
So I bought this by mistake..it was 3am..I was tired..what you guna do? Anyway I'm so glad I did, heres why. The description of the effect from Pauls site is pretty accurate. In fact its spot on apart from one tiny bit which is pushing the boundaries of imagination - but thats me being petty, and technically it is 100% accurate.

This isn't so much of an effect as instructions and ideas for a gimmick. The amount of effects you could perform with this information must be into their thousands. The gimmick used is originally for magicians but Paul has adapted its use to create some great mentalism or mental magic. The possibilities are endless, so it really is one to get your imagination working. You also get 7 great effects to perform with it.

You get a lovely 63 page E-book e-mailed soon after payment with full performance scripts, method & instructions, references and subtelties and the 7 effects I already mentioned.

It is impromptu in the same way any card trick is impromptu if you have a deck of cards with you. It is not "naked" mentalism. However, the gimmick is small enough to carry in a pocket, bag, or bra if you so wish. It fits nicely in my tight jeans pockets with room to spare. Because of this it is brilliant for close up and walk around mentalism, It could be used on stage but perhaps a little more thought would be required.

As mentioned on the site you do have to buy something extra. This something "extra" is the gimmick itself, this cost me £12 from a UK online magic store. However, due to it being out of stock it has taken five weeks to arrive..that was a long wait - this is nothing to do with Paul though, however you should bare in mind that you arnt going to be able to perform any of this manuscript without this gimmick. Once the gimmick has arrived it needs to be altered with a bit of DIY, this is perfectly easy and took me about 15 minutes to do and is covered in great depth in Pauls E-book.

In total the whole effect has cost me ::
£15 for gimmick + post
£15 for "the "Underhanded" E-book
and £2 for paper.

So unless you already have the gimmick the effect is going to cost you in the region of £30.

My only issues with the actual effect is that it cannot be performed surrounded. you will have to be careful with angles when you perform, unless your good with your hands ;) With practice you could probably perform this with people behind you but that would damage the clean appearance of the performance.

I have performed this around 15 times now and it gets great reactions every time. I've come up with about 5 different effects which play very differently. I've even used it as an element to force a word on a spec in a completely different effect. Pauls E-book turns a good magic prop in to a fantastic, workable and clean mentalism utility. I would say the E-book is slightly overpriced. I would have been tempted to knock it down to £10 for the sole purpose that you still have to order the gimmick from a supplier. But then again, the idea is worth the price of so many other effects out there that this gimmick could save you alot of money!

To compare with another of Pauls products "The Thought Reader Card" I would say (if you cant get both) go for "Underhanded". Its possibilities are vast and you have loads of effects in your hands.... literally.

"Should I get it?" - Depends what you do. Its great for walk around mentalism. Its possibilities are endless. It can be used to predict or force and looks very very clean. It could be performed anywhere.
Paul goes through the script, method and subtleties in amazing detail. His words of wisdom are just brilliant. In the E-book you get everything you need + so so so much more. If you want a very clean "I know what word your going to say before you say it" effect then you need this!!.. This is mind reading at its cleanest.



Overall


8/10

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Postby Mr Grumpy » Jul 1st, '10, 12:14

I like the review.

A fundamental problem with buying magic is that since no one can say how it's done, often you don't know whether or not the effect uses a method that you already know. If I bought this and found out that it's just a billet ****x with a switch, I'd feel like I'd wasted my £!

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Postby Ted » Jul 1st, '10, 12:25

The Devil's Tailor wrote:A fundamental problem with buying magic is that since no one can say how it's done, often you don't know whether or not the effect uses a method that you already know.


I think that this is an interesting point. The view I take is that the effect is the important part, not the method. If you read about an effect you like the sound of, and realise you can achieve it well using method xyz, then why not perform it that way and save your money?

EDIT: In addition, I guess that the method you already know might be too scary to use - not everyone likes using sleight of hand. So the element in the advert that you would want to look out for is "self-working" or similar. If the product then turns out to involve what you suggested above then you'd have a case for a refund, in my opinion.

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Postby Mr Grumpy » Jul 1st, '10, 12:36

100% true, of course.

But there's another concept that I think is important here.

(Sorry to go off topic a bit, but anway.)

When I asked (Ted) a question about The Third Man in another thread and you (Ted) said I shouldn't think about that detail, just how the effect plays, although that is true, I asked for a specific reason: I already know an effect that plays much like The Third Man (I think!?), and I love it, but I'm not entirely crazy about the fact that the performer must be the one to open the envelope. Sure, it's not a major problem, but it's natural to want to improve your effects wherever you can. When I read about The Third Man, I wondered if it might be similar to the effect I knew of, but improved in that the spectator can open the envelope for themselves. If that had been the case, I'd have had a _specific_ reason to buy the effect.

With the effect reviewed on this page, sure, I could perform it with a billet ****x and a billet switch, and it could play very well. But what if this product uses a different method that I might prefer? The only way to find out is to buy it! Which is fine if I find out that the method IS better. But if I find out that it's the same, then I've wasted my money.

A problem entirely unique to magic, possibly?

Maybe the answer is only buy one-trick effects if you're rich; otherwise to buy books and DVDs that teach multiple effects. That way you could never feel that you've wasted your £££.

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Postby Ted » Jul 1st, '10, 12:43

The Devil's Tailor wrote:it's natural to want to improve your effects wherever you can. When I read about The Third Man, I wondered if it might be similar to the effect I knew of, but improved in that the spectator can open the envelope for themselves. If that had been the case, I'd have had a _specific_ reason to buy the effect.


Sometimes I let the spectator open the envelope, sometimes not. In practice it's such a subtle point that it does not really change the effect or its impact.

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Postby Wishmaster » Jul 1st, '10, 12:44

Ted wrote:EDIT: In addition, I guess that the method you already know might be too scary to use - not everyone likes using sleight of hand. So the element in the advert that you would want to look out for is "self-working" or similar. If the product then turns out to involve what you suggested above then you'd have a case for a refund, in my opinion.

Yep, that's me. If it says "self working" or that no sleight skill is needed, I'm happy to buy. BUT, there have been a number of effects and books I bought that sneak into the instructions..."just perform your fave method of getting a card from the middle to the top of the pack" or "do a simple d****le l*ft", "palm" etc. etc. Great if you know the sleight, but a complete waste of money if you don't and have no intention or inclination to learn. Very frustrating and expensive.

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Postby Ted » Jul 1st, '10, 12:48

Wishmaster wrote:Yep, that's me. If it says "self working" or that no sleight skill is needed, I'm happy to buy.


The Third Man would suit you, then. You only have to Faro Shuffle the photos, b*** p*** one and cull the others and you're set ;)

EDIT: And just to be slightly more helpful:

This is The Third Man effect. It requires no sleight of hand. It can be customised to use any photographic images you like.

It is clean, almost self-working and is suitable for performers at every level.


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Postby Mr Grumpy » Jul 1st, '10, 12:56

I'm now baffled as to how TTT works! I thought it might use more or less the same principle as Banachek's Loco Logo. But with Loco Logo the spectator certainly can't hand out the envelope.

Having said that, they can SOMETIMES. So, again, you might "sometimes hand out the envelope, sometimes not".

Hmm...

Please don't think I'm fishing for method here. I know full well that you (Ted) aren't going to give away the method for a product that sells for £100 (or even for a cheap product). I just wanted to get an idea as to whether or not I'd solve the (mild) problem with Loco Logo with TTT.

By the way, the sleight in Loco Logo is super easy. You could do it right almost first time. So it's not that I need my effects to be self-working. I just like the idea of being able to hand out the envelope, "just in case". I realise most spectators won't really care.

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Postby Wishmaster » Jul 1st, '10, 13:05

Thanks Ted :D

Just so it's clear to everyone after re-reading my post. I know Paul's products are very well thought of and I wasn't for a moment suggesting he is guilty of being liberal with his descriptions now or in the past.

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Postby Ted » Jul 1st, '10, 13:20

The Devil's Tailor wrote:I just wanted to get an idea as to whether or not I'd solve the (mild) problem with Loco Logo with TTT.


I'd answer by saying I'm sure the methods are quite different and that when I say The Third Man requires no sleight of hand I absolutely mean it. You can easily perform the effect surrounded. There are no angles to worry about and if it was any more self-working you'd not need to be in the room.

Hopefully that answers your concerns, one way or another :)

EDIT: Oops! Apologies for hijacking Paul's thread! Paul's material is usually very detailed in terms of performance notes, subtle points and so on. That's far more valuable than much material out there.

EDIT2: You posted again just before I sent this. I was just fixing the problem with the edit above :)

Last edited by Ted on Jul 1st, '10, 13:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Mr Grumpy » Jul 1st, '10, 13:24

Then clearly the method is different!

I would certainly buy it, but at present I'm skint and by the time I receive a cheque I'm waiting for, you'll have sold out. In fact, by the time I get paid, a year may well have passed and you'll have released the effect again!

I feel that we have hijacked this post to talk about The Third Man.

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Re: "Underhanded" by Paul Brook (Review)

Postby Mobius Klein » Apr 9th, '19, 18:59

I'm confused - Several people are saying this is a self-worker with no sleights, so why did the OP give it a difficulty rating of '3'?

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Re: "Underhanded" by Paul Brook (Review)

Postby Mandrake » Apr 9th, '19, 21:36

I think the original asessment was that some sleights were used so perhaps not exactly difficult but also not a self worker. As the OP hasn't posted since August 2013 it's unlikely that they will say more on this topic!

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Re: "Underhanded" by Paul Brook (Review)

Postby Mobius Klein » Jun 25th, '19, 20:52

Thank you for clarifying Mandrake.

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