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Illusionary Departures Review

Official Review

April 8th, 2013 6:08am
Reviewed by Jeff Stone

For $95 you get the plans for 35 illusions.

This is a tough thing to review. I can't exactly build the 35 illusions and see if the plans really worked. So rather than build them, I Googled JC Sum and found several of his illusions from this book in action. So, knowing that Mr. Sum is pretty much a household name when it comes to illusion design, and considering that the illusions looked good in the videos and got great reactions, I can only assume that the illusions in the book work.

So, next question, are the plans in the book clear enough to actually turn into a working model of the prop? Well . . . frankly, I'm not sure. I'm not an architect or a designer so some of the "blueprints" were a little tough for me to visualize and fully understand. Again, however, I would imagine that since the illusions have been designed and created, that a carpenter could interpret and do what s/he needs to do to create these illusions.

So, let's look at production value. The book is paperback and heavy on thick glossy paper with extreme details and directions for each illusion. The book is 145 pages and very well made. Due to Mr. Sum's reputation and the live YouTube performances I watched, I have no reason to doubt that the book contains all of the information needed to create the very illusions he claims they create.

As most of you know, I'm a close up guy and a stand up comedy/mentalism guy . . . no big props . . . no illusions, etc. After reading this book, I discovered an illusion or two that I'm seriously considering building experimenting with in a stand up show. The illusions appear to be unique and a bit of a different take on classics or in some cases relatively original. In the product description, you can see a list of all of the illusions. If any of them appeal to you, I think the price of the book is full justified.

These types of illusions generally cost in the tens of thousands of dollars and more. For $100 bucks to get the book, plus materials and labor for a carpenter, you can build these things for several thousand dollars below the normal cost. If you're not interested in performing illusions, I'd still ask you to consider it, if nothing else for the diversity of your knowledge, and you never know, you might just find yourself wanting to do a card trick as you walk through four steel bars.

Final Verdict:
4.5 Stars with a Stone Status of Gem.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Illusionary Departures

Author: Sum, JC
Average Rating:  (2)
Retail Price: $95.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

"Illusionary Departures 2012" is a treasury of original illusion designs and presentation plots from J C Sum, one of Asia's most successful illusionists & illusion designers.

This is the latest edition of the book that was first released in 2004. Over the last 8 years, the book has been revised, updated, expanded and is now J C's BIGGEST illusion book to date! It contains 35 illusions & stage routines with carefully thought out designs, methodologies and presentation plots that take into consideration motivation, logic and credibility in the performance of illusion.

Illusions detailed inside the book cover multiple genres including penetrations, appearances, vanishes, transpositions and escapes. Also shared are a variety of original stage routines such as a logical time travel act, motivated torn & restored effect and a silent theatrical piece with plot and progressive structure.

In one of the most valuable chapters in the book, J C shares his original approach to designing and building a modern illusion base. His base is highly deceptive and sturdy but is very lightweight compared to traditionally built bases. J C and his onstage partner, 'Magic Babe' Ning, utilize this cutting edge base design in several of their illusions featured in their live shows and on TV across the world.

All the illusions were created for the working performer (from new workers to seasoned professionals) and have been prototyped, built and audience-tested in professional shows staged over the years since 1998.

All props are designed to pack down effectively for transport and most of the illusions can be performed surrounded or with audiences on three sides. Many of the illusions can be built inexpensively and are suitable even for beginners looking to get started in the field of grand illusions.

"Illusionary Departures 2012" features 145 pages of detailed illusion construction plans as well as full illusion presentations, including:

A Walk Through The Winery
An original penetration illusion

Visual Displacement
The passing of a person through four vertical solid steel bars

The Time Machine
A 'cerebral' stage routine performed to a time-travel plot

Reinvent the Sub-Trunk
Eight different variations & presentation ideas for the 'Substitution Trunk'

Creation Of Life
A paradigm of powerful illusion presentation

Ultimate Victory Cartons
An inexpensive appearance illusion for stage

Black Art Case Table
A practical transport solution for a B.A. utility

Fourth Dimensional Exit
The magical vanishing of a company of dancers/ performers using a new illusion utility

Deceptive Base Work
Original thoughts, philosophy, design and fabrication process for a modern base

Crystal Striptease
The magical vanish & reappearance of a girl while being stripped of her clothes

New-Age Spirit Cabinet
The manifestation of inanimate objects with a kicker ending

When motivation and combination collide

Back Door Appearance
The magical appearance of a person(s) in a special event setting

Graffiti Girl
An audience participation illusion with a girl from graffiti appearance

Motion Delayed Vanish/ Appearance
An original application of an illusion utility

Modern Flight Case Table
An ATA case-table for working performers

A corporate logo magically appears in a flash of fire

Chain Reaction
An instant escape with a costume change kicker

Hiding In Plain Sight
A sucker comedy teleportation

Ghost Cabinet
Multiple presentations for a versatile prop for a multi-cast illusion production number

12-Girl Cabinet
A simplified and modern Jarrett 21-Person Cabinet

BONUS: Purchasing this book will entitle you access to J C's secret 'Backstage' section that contains FREE illusion ideas and four illusion methods for car appearances! Many have said that these ideas alone are worth the price of the book!

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