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Magic and Mentalism of Barrie Richardson Volume 2 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 2

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


Choices Have Consequences - A Bank Night effect with meaning, three envelopes are presented to two spectators yet the performer is left with the big prize. Nevertheless, the performer is also forced to learn that choices do, indeed, have consequences. No gimmicks, no forces - just a fun routine that can be performed anywhere.

Second Spot - Barrie's version of Fogel's classic psychometry routine is performed in the context of the amazing story of the Uruguayan athletes who survived a plane crash in the Andes Mountains. The owners of five borrowed objects are successfully divined with plenty of laughter, fun, and mystery.

Mesmer's Pencil - A demonstration of "animal magnetism." A pencil resting on the performer's hand rises as a female audience member draws near. She then discovers, after the performer suggests that the pencil is now very heavy, that she cannot lift it. After she changes the image in her mind, the pencil becomes light again and it is given to her as a souvenir. This routine has been used by some of the most distinguished mentalists in the world.

Dollar Divination - The performer demonstrates his ability to determine six of the serial numbers from any borrowed bill with only his fingertips. He then has one spectator mentally transmit the last two digits to another with total accuracy. Versatile for close-up or stage.

Angel's Flight - Even though the performer is at quite some distance, he reveals the playing cards the audience members are thinking of. Finally, the entire audience, using their collective imagination, divines the number of cards that were previously hidden away. A wonderful mystery wrapped in a true story that also utilizes a totally novel - and very deceptive - deck switch!

Thoughts with Wings - A newspaper section is torn into small pieces by a spectator, who then selects a single piece. She is then asked to mentally select a single word from the page and with absolutely no questions asked, the performer correctly reveals the chosen word. A stunning display of what can only be actual mind reading.

Running Time Approximately: 1hr 54mins

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