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Stand-up Magic For Kids DVD Review

Official Review

May 15th, 2008 10:33pm
Reviewed by David Acer
Good news! Toronto magician Bill Abbott has been sniffing the ink on his Bongo Hat again. On this 2007 “deluxe edition” of his 2004 DVD, Stand-Up Magic for Kids, he tips two more fully realized, wholly fleshed out routines, in addition to the three signature pieces that appeared on the original release. That’s an enormous amount of professional material for one DVD, and a serious boon for kidshow entertainers.

The DVD opens with (appropriately) Bill’s opener”“The Sponge Snack””a two-minute, character-establishing sponge-balls-from-mouth routine done to music. It’s funny, it’s magical, it puts a lot of focus on your face, and by the end, the audience has the feeling they’ve seen dozens of sponge balls, when in fact only four were ever in use.

Next is “The Thing,” a phantasmagorical “middle” routine in which a small, see-through, empty chest-style box is placed on the table, then opened, whereupon a handkerchief is laid on top of it. Suddenly, something inside the box gently pokes up against the center of the hanky, then floats up like a helium balloon, taking the handkerchief with it. The magician hangs on to the corners of the handkerchief to keep the “ghost” from floating away, but when he lifts the corner closest to the audience and flips it back, the handkerchief falls limply from one hand, revealing that there is nothing beneath it. Regripping the handkerchief with both hands, and keeping his eye on the spot in the air where the “ghost” was last seen, the magician drapes the hanky over that point, as a floating ghost forms beneath it once more. The “ghost” tries to pull the hanky free from the magician a few more times before our hero finally corals it back into the open box on the table, then he lifts the handkerchief, showing that, once again, there is nothing. You’ll have to gather the necessary materials and construct the gimmick yourself (unless you buy the trick ready-made from Bill), but it’s not complicated, and the result is a beautiful, memorable routine.

The third offering is “Chico the Mind Reading Monkey,” a richly scripted closer in which, after reams of byplay, a monkey puppet reveals a chosen alphabet-card. Whether you adopt this routine as is, or use it as a foundation for your own routine, Bill’s thinking will help you find and develop a character for the fuzzy hand-puppet of your choice. In Chico’s case, the character is so real and endearing, kids latch onto it like it’s a live animal, and that’s a kind of magic unto itself.

In the bonus section, Bill performs and teaches his commercial handling for Bob Carver’s Equal/Unequal Ropes (a.k.a. The Professor’s Nightmare), along with his three-phase cut-and-restored rope routine, which includes an opening sequence wherein he unravels a piece of thread from around a button on his jacket, holds it by one end, then waves a lighter beneath the other end, whereupon, in a flash of fire, the thread changes into a four-foot length of rope. You also get a chance to see him performing some of the material from this DVD in different venues, like Chico in a nightclub (for adults), “The Thing” on the street, and his cut-and-restored-rope routine on a kids’ TV show.
Personally, I think anyone who does stand-up magic could benefit from this DVD”for kidshow entertainers it’s a no-brainer.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Stand-up Magic For Kids DVD

Author: Bill Abbott
Average Rating:  (2)
Retail Price: $34.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

Bill Abbott has entertained audiences across North America and Western Europe with the magic on this DVD for over 19 years. Now you can experience the original, magical, and very funny stand-up magic for kids that Bill has honed through years of tough experience. Recorded at a resort in front of a live audience witness material that was developed in the trenches of the birthday party circuit and perfected in tours across Canada and the United Kingdom. These routines have the practicality and the versatility that have lasted almost two decades of solid performances. Beyond the performances are the careful details that make up the construction, set-up, and delivery of each of these treasured routines.

Performed and Explained on this DVD are...

  • The Sponge Snack - when touring across Canada Bill performed this silent opener 110 times in 90 days! Develop an instant rapport with audiences with this humorous routine that non-verbally communicates that your show will be fun, magical, and full of surprises.

  • The Thing - Practical, one-man levitations are few and far between. Bill has created a reputation-making miracle that can be performed ANYWHERE. From the smallest living room the largest theatre stage to the most stringent street conditions. The Thing can float in any performing situation with your audience viewing from any angle.

  • Chico the Mind Reader - For those who have witnessed a performance of Chico know the revelation of this routine is worth the price of the DVD. Bill has booked more shoes from this one routine than any other in his repertoire. The explanation segment is a virtual course in the creation, development, and performance of your own original puppet routine. Included are two bonus routines and additional ideas for both family and adult audiences.

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