Here we go, my first "real" review of any product. Only took 12 years of being in magic to write one!
Front Row Sankey – Jay Sankey
I’m not giving any X/10 ratings, simply because I feel they’re too subjective. I will give a breakdown of each effect, and the overall quality of the video/audio. Here we go.
Audio/Video Quality – Not quite as nice during the performance as it is during the explanations, but he is out in restaurants, malls, etc. The performances were shot with a fisheye lens, in order to allow us to see more of the “whole” picture, and allow us to feel more like we’re right there in the action. Jay explains this. For the audio, it’s certainly not much of a distraction, but the performances are slightly distorted, just the occasional bit of static, etc, which I also attribute to the “guerilla” nature of shooting the performances. Nothing to get upset over.
The audio and video during the explanation parts are just fine. I know people were unhappy on Jay’s Revolutionary Card Magic DVD during the parts where he was in the hotel hallway. There’s nothing that bad on this disc. Everything is seen and heard quite clearly for the explanations.
Most of the effects are performed for real audiences in restaurants, malls, etc. This is one of the strongest points of the DVD. You’re still getting Jay’s sense of humor, but you get to see how he applies it to his real working experience. A few of the effects are interspersed as “Bonus Effects” and are fully performed and explained in the studio, no live audience. They’re still strong effects, and are marked as “(B.E.)” next to the effect’s title. Now for the effects…
Fan Mail – A variation on the classic bill switch, where a paper signed by the spectator magically changes places with a paper signed by the performer. I like this one a lot, it’s visually striking, involves the spectator on a personal level, and the motivation makes more sense to me than turning a bill inside out. Thumbs up, would make a good opener.
Full Lotus – A new handling on Jay’s Paperclipped idea where a spectator’s signed card changes places with a folded, clipped Joker. This is my favorite version of the Paperclipped idea, and I’m looking forward to adding it to my repertoire.
Shake and Bake (B.E.) – A borrowed coin doubles, then triples. A pretty clean production of 3 coins. This one could work as a stand alone effect, or as an intro to a coins across or 3-fly routine. Nice opener.
Slow Motion Coins – Three coins are placed into the hand, and then travel back into your pocket, while the spectator holds onto your wrist. This could be used right after Shake and Bake, or by itself. The slowness in performing this routine is what makes it powerful, and seemingly impossible.
Not This Card – A new handling on the classic Chicago Opener effect with some good changes and suprises.
Shape of Things to Come – The spectator takes a pack of ESP cards and mixes them well. He/She does this under the table, then selects two cards. The performer devines both. The first, the spectator knows, this one is an experiment in “telepathy”. The next one isn’t know by the spec or performer, but it is known anyway. An experiment in “clairvoyance”. This one will BLOW AWAY lay audiences. I don’t do very much mentalism, but I like this one a lot. Could work well as a closer.
Real Magic (B.E.) – Another variation on the classic bill switch, where writing magically “melts” through a borrowed bill. This one isn’t bad, but I much prefer Fan Mail over it, another good opener.
Hypnotarized – A card magically changes into the spectator’s card under the guise of hypnosis. Not too bad, not outstanding. Always handy to have another color-change effect.
Litmus Test (B.E.) – A double-blank card gains a face, then a back, then loses them again. Not a bad effect, but probably my least favorite on the disc, mostly because I find the “Topper” move a bit fishy. I may have liked it more if I had seen an audience reaction on this one.
Close Contact – Best if performed for a couple. The man mixes the deck and selects a card, all under the table. He peeks his card, then shuffles it back into the deck, still under the table. The deck is brought out. The cards are spread and the woman chooses any card. The selected card is left on the table, the rest of the deck put away. The man reveals his card, and the card on the table is turned over, revealing it’s the same card! This one is great for couples, best suited for them actually. Easy to do. You’ll kill with this one. Would make a great closer.
Deviant Behavior – A new version of the standard “place 4 cards into the deck and they magically come back to the top”. In this one, four Jokers are placed through the deck, only for one of them to come back to the top of the deck, two to your pockets, and the final to your fly. The deck is clean afterward, no extra Jokers. A good effect, would be fine as a “middle” to your routine. As Jay says, this is a “watch me” effect. Maybe a little risqué for some with the fly part, but that’s easily changed to another pocket, etc.
Out of Sight (B.E.) – A card is selected from an invisible deck, marked with an X and replaced in the box. The cards then magically appear in the box, and one card is marked with an X, which turns out to be the though of card.. For those who like I.D. routines without the gimmicked I.D. No force.
Vital Signs – A new match and a burned match trade places. Done in the spectator’s hands. Similar to a dime and penny in the hands switch. Minimal sleights, strong magic. I like this one, especially in a restaurant with it’s own matches. Good way to promote the venue.
The Phoenix Effect – Others have stated that this one could be sold on its own, and I agree. It’s pretty strong magic. A spectator selects a card. He/She then initials the back of a different card. The initial is wiped off the card. The paper with the smeared ink is then set ablaze over the deck, and the initial re-materializes on the first selected card, in the middle of the deck. This written description really does not do the effect justice. It’s really strong magic, and this is going into the show as soon as possible.
Inseparable (B.E.) – A fairly typical Crazy Man’s Handcuffs routine, where the bands link at the end. Spec. can keep the linked bands. In this one, the bands have both been broken and tied back together before the effect. This makes the final link a bit more feasible, but for me lessens the magic in the effect. I feel that if a spec. sees the broken bands “melt” through each other, they may just not be as wowed as they would with whole, new bands. Good for someone who’s never done a CMH and wants to learn one, but I’d recommend Harlan’s material over this one.
One of One – The spectator selects a card. The magician draws a picture of a card on the back of a Joker, which turns out to be an incorrect prediction. The drawing then magically changes into a correct prediction, and the Joker itself turns into the selected card. Strong magic, several magical moments. Nothing complicated, could make a nice giveaway.
Overall, the magic here is strong and usable. No magician foolers, but hard-hitting stuff for laypeople. No tough sleight of hand, and most of it requires little setup, if any. This is my third Sankey DVD, and by far my favorite. Definitely recommended, particularly for strolling or table-hopping magicians.
Last edited by Mercury52 on Fri Mar 11, 2005 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.