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Pack Small, Play Big Video - The Kids' Birthday Show (VHS) Review

December 14th, 2002 6:50pm
Reviewed by rhinomax
Dan Harlan ??? kid show ????? If you already do kid shows you'll wonder why he made this tape. Not much here for the moderately seasoned kid show magi. On the up side the twenty cent silks and the shake it up routines are a fresh look at some old ideas. There is no doubt Dan is one of the greatest thinkers in magic today, kid show just not his thing.

Product info for Pack Small, Play Big Video - The Kids' Birthday Show (VHS)

Author: Harlan, Dan
Publisher: L & L Publishing
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $29.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

The "Kids' Birthday Show" performed on this video is perfect for young children ages 5 to 13. There's an incredible amount of audience involvement and on-stage participation to keep the youngsters' attention. You'll find classics and fresh, original routines combined for a high-energy, fun-filled show they are sure to remember.

The party begins with a warm-up effect, "Let It All Out," which encourages the children to make noise in response to the magic. This routine teaches them when it's appropriate to respond and when to be quiet in a fun, non-confrontational way. Although remarkably simple to perform, this appearance, vanish and re-appearance of a silk handkerchief is surprising magic that captures everyone's attention. The performer lets everyone know he's there to do unexpected things and have a lot of fun.

Next is the amusing routine, "Gosh Man," using some sponge balls, a bag, and even a hint of Slydini. Getting one of the children directly involved, the performer causes a sponge ball to vanish and re-appear many times. The rest of the audience is in on the secret until the very end when everything starts to magically change. This routine lets the kids know that it's fun to help the magician, and you'll appreciate the way Harlan teaches them to volunteer quietly.

The performer wraps up the opening section with "Sucker Suckers" using another volunteer from the audience. This quick effect uses four different-flavored lollypops. The magician keeps one for himself and offers the helper the other three, but all of them unexpectedly vanish. To make it up to his volunteer, he produces a large multi-colored lollypop for her.

To display his diversity, Harlan now performs his "Balloon-atic" routine, which is always a hit with kids. There are zany antics, silly jokes, and general goofiness as the performer attempts to blow up a balloon and make a balloon animal. Everything turns out all right with the birthday child getting a very special balloon animal.

Then, a visual piece where a child gets to be a magician, "This Century," is Harlan's fresh version of the Twentieth Century Silks using no gimmicked silks. A brightly colored silk miraculously vanishes from the performer's hands and appears tied between two other silks held by the spectator. This ingenious method is easy to construct and simple to perform.

Finishing up the middle section, the performer starts to put on a "Party Hat," then notices that everyone needs hats and noisemakers, so he magically produces them from his hat. This versatile method is bold, but practical and allows the maximum amount of objects to be produced. Harlan also explains exactly what kind of noisemakers he uses, and you'll certainly appreciate the tip.

At this point, Harlan chooses the classic of all classics, "Coloring Book," to get the whole audience involved again. He demonstrates the proper handling of this wonderful prop that should be in every child entertainer's bag of tricks. You'll learn some new lines and a technique for interaction that will keep all of the kids focused on the show.

Time for the big routine, and "Shake It Up" is delightfully entertaining. With the help of one of the children, the magician attempts to make a milkshake starting with milk and ice cream, but he doesn't have some of the ingredients so he substitutes ketchup and mustard for chocolate, then adds salt and pepper for more flavor. To mix it up, he turns it upside down on the child's head. Just when you think there's going to be a big mess, he instantly changes everything into candy bars as a gift for the helper. Harlan has taken the hassle out of this routine by eliminating all liquids, although you'll swear he used some.

Finally, to make sure every child at the party gets something from the magician, he performs "Candy Man," where a previously empty bag is magically filled with candy for everyone. This amazing production is simple to do and can be adapted to a variety of items. You'll also see the way Harlan gets the kids organized and keeps them under control while having the candy distributed. This signifies that the show has ended and shifts the focus back to the party.

Enjoy the show, then prepare to learn the secrets of a master as every nuance is revealed. Soon, you too will Pack Small, and Play Big.

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