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Magic and Mentalism of Barrie Richardson Volume 3 Review

Official Review

January 1st, 2011 11:14am
Reviewed by Christian
The Barrie Richardson DVDs… I hesitated for a couple of weeks on how to structure my review regarding these DVDs. I have decided to use this single review for all three DVDs, even though there is different material on each one. I think that after you read my review you will understand why.

These DVDs contain selected works from his books “Theater of the Mind” and “Act Two”. These two books are outstanding tomes of magic thought and tricks. They are well worth every penny, no questions about that.

Other than financial gain, I cannot understand why these DVDs were made. They really don’t offer anything new. They are just video versions of Barrie performing select tricks from his books. Michael Weber does an outstanding job of clarifying details and interacting with Barrie. There are a few points here and there that might not be in the book, but overall I just don’t see a reason for them to be made.

This is, for me, an excellent example of the old DVD vs Book debate. I like books, they make you think, they fire the imagination, they challenge your critical thinking. From reading descriptions one imagines how a trick might play out, how you will inject your own personality and script, and how you will present the premise.

When you watch a DVD, you tend to mimic the performance; your mind only goes as far as the visual components take you. In a sense the trick is handed to you on a silver platter and all you have to do is memorize the actions and line.

Mr. Richardson’s books are modern classics. They are bursting full of useful and outstanding material. They chapters are easy to understand and very well laid out. What more do you need? They stimulate your mind. The DVDs do not.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for DVDs. If the moves are complex and difficult to explain in the written word, if seeing the method will add to the understanding of how it looks, or if I need to understand timing and nuances that can be invisible to the written word then these are reasons to make a DVD.

There was a lot of talk about these DVDs. Many people thought that Barrie was boring, his pacing and blocking clumsy. There were also complaints about the standard L & L audience that we now all know by name. I will say this: Barrie is not a professional performer. He is 75 years old. It is the standard L&L audience.

But why are you buying these DVDs? Are you too lazy to read the books? (please don’t give me that, “I’m a visual learner” garbage.) The books are all you really need. If you are simply curious to see Barrie perform, fine, there you have it.

OK, so what is my bottom line? Simple, buy the books. Yes, each DVD has really nice effects on them, they are contained in the books ….and…. with even more tricks that aren’t on the DVDs. So, why limit yourself to just a few effects over 3 DVDs when you could have 3 times that many in 2 books?

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Magic and Mentalism of Barrie Richardson Volume 3

Author: Richardson, Barrie
Publisher: L&L Publishing
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $34.95
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Manufacturer's Description:


Quartet - Playing cards are fairly shuffled by a spectator and yet, when the cards are distributed to four participants, the performer reveals them with stunning speed and inerrancy. This is an extremely commercial effect that looks and feels like a genuine demonstration of extraordinary memory power.

Zebras and The Magic Square - A magic square routine that serves as a metaphor for how people too readily accept an easy answer while discounting other options. The audience interaction makes this demonstration a lively and memorable experience with none of the participants likely to ever forget what not seeing a zebra means.

The Human Movie Projector - The performer demonstrates an uncanny mental ability by memorizing 46 playing cards from a fairly mixed deck. The audience is helped to realize their own potential as they are able to correctly remember the order of the other six cards.

The Suspended Rice Jar Metaphor - While weaving a tale of the ancient Chinese priestesses, the performer suspends a large jar of rice with just a single thin chop stick. No magnets, wires, or gimmicks - just magic!

Sun and Moon Memories - A routine that utilizes concepts with far-reaching applications for mystery workers, the performer demonstrates how words, numbers, and pictures can be communicated, not by mind reading, but by using just the power of touch.

The Memorized Time Magazine - A current issue of Time is torn in half and the pages distributed to members of the audience. Any page number is called out and the performer immediately is able to reveal the contents on the selected page, including detailed descriptions of the articles, in addition to intricate details such as phone and credit card numbers. No electronics are used in this dramatic demonstration of the creative powers inherent in everyone's mind. This one's a true audience pleaser!

Running Time Approximately: 2hr 35mins

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