Here is my review of Axel Hecklau's Newsflash.
The effect: The magician displays a newspaper. He opens it up, and shows both sides of all of the pages. He then closes the paper and proceeds to tear it into several pieces. Suddenly without any cover, the pieces of torn newspaper are seen to visually restore themselves back into a full sized newspaper. The performer once again opens and displays the newspaper, thereby confirming that the paper is indeed restored back to its original pristine condition.
OK. That effect may read like every other torn and restored newspaper, but that's where most of the similarities end. Newsflash is the brainchild of German magician Axel Hecklau. His treatment of the Torn and Restored Newspaper is being hailed as one of the best improvements on the effect in many years.
What you receive: 1 Instructional DVD. 1 Set of gimmicks
The DVD is very well produced. It's divided into easy to access chapters, so whatever part of the set up, or explanation you need to watch, navigation is pretty easy. Believe me when I say, Mr. Hecklau leaves no stone unturned. He covers everything, and he covers it very well. A really cool thing is that Mr. Hecklau not only teaches the set up, but he's doing a set up in REAL TIME right along with you! I mentioned earlier that he is from Germany, but his English is very good, and very easy to understand. He also has a sense of humor, which is shown throughout the DVD. However, during the explanations, he's all business.
As for the gimmicks that you receive, to say that they are unique would only be a half truth, as part of the gimmick is used in at least 2 methods I can think of, while the other part of the gimmick is what I believe to be completely original. However both are used in combination, and it's pretty ingenious.
With most any T&R Newspaper there is some preparation involved. It is pretty time consuming as you learn Newsflash......Thank God for pause and rewind buttons! But I must say that once you've prepared 2 or 3 newspapers, it's no more time consuming as say the G.A. method. There is some cutting and gluing involved (glue stick), but once you've set up your gimmick, it's pretty minimal.
Once the preparation is complete, Mr. Hecklau then teaches step by step the actual performance of the effect. Again it's very structured, and very concise. There are close up, and behind the shoulder shots. This way you can see exactly what everything should, and will look like when you're doing the trick. Once the original performance has been taught, Axel gives several ideas and methods of doing alternative presentations. But I must admit I wasn't very keen on them. I think doing this effect in its original form is better than the others offered. After all, that's why I bought it in the first place.
All in all I must say that I really love this method. I have done the Gene Anderson method for many years, and it's a great newspaper tear, in fact it's still used by many top pros today. I have also done the Baxt method, which is similar to Mr. Anderson's, but with faster set up, and different gimmicks. Overall Newsflash has become my weapon of choice when it comes to doing a T&R Newspaper that will make the audience literally gasp in amazement.
1). Extremely visual restoration.
2). Can be performed surrounded.(Extra preparation required)
3). Restores at chest height...not at waist level, thereby looks more natural!
4). Newspaper can easily be folded after restoration.
5). Only 3 tears. As opposed to 5 or 6 as in other methods.
6). Easy to do.
1). Cost is about $100.00 with shipping in the U.S.
2). Prep time not as minimal as some methods.
3). Requires cutting and gluing to prepare.
Method - 10/10
Teaching on the DVD -10/10
Gimmicks supplied - 8/10
Overall Value - 10/10
Some people might say that $100.00 is too much to spend on a torn and restored newspaper trick. If you're doing magic on a part time to full time basis, I think $100 for such a strong effect is justified. One must consider the time and effort of the creator. I'm sure it took Mr. Hecklau many years of trial and error to come up with his method. His time should be compensated. Not to mention the expense of making the DVD, and marketing costs in general. So when all is said and done, a hundred bucks is really more of an investment in your show.