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Ah-Ha! Review

Official Review

August 1st, 2003 12:12pm
Reviewed by David Acer
In case you're wondering, there is precedent for a magic book comprised entirely of collaborations, but admittedly, not much. In 1987, Richard Sanders and Jay Sankey wrote When Creators Collide (published by Ben Harris), a collection of routines they co-created that received lukewarm reviews. It was, to be sure, a mixed bag, but it did contain a few sparkling gems (see Bound To Fool, A Change For The Better and all three Ambitious Card moves). The same could be said of this David Harkey/Eric Anderson treatise, Ah-Ha!

A slim, crisp, 90-page collection, Ah-Ha contains 20 routines, 7 with cards, and the rest using an assortment of miscellaneous objects - coins, business cards, stickers, flowers, newspaper, bills, your dog, and a baby's finger (by the way, if I see ONE MORE trick with a baby's finger...).

Highlights include Scatterbrain, a simple but terrific revelation of a word chosen freely from a page in the newspaper; Torque, a rich and visual approach to bending a coin with your mind; Petrified, a version of Paul Harris's Solid Deception that I really wanted to dislike (it's a trick that, in my opinion, has been over-varied), but in the end, I could not resist its beauty -- it's a gorgeous routine; and Flashpack, an instant, stand-up production of a cased deck.

Lowlights include Fingerling, an utterly unperformable trick for (and with) a toddler, in which you apparently remove his or her thumb, then replace it (I'm reminded of the scene in Parenthood where Steve Martin does the old severed thumb trick for a little girl, whereupon she lets loose a blood-curdling scream and runs away... Now imagine if it was her thumb she thought he had severed); Zuzu's Petals, wherein the magician removes petals from a nearby daisy (ugh!), uttering "she loves me, she loves me not," but when he realizes he has ended on the latter, he snaps his fingers and one more petal appears on the flower (this wouldn't fool a Wheel of Fortune contestant); and Schmobius, a non-trick (and, despite to the author's insistence, non-puzzle) with a rubber band.

Everything else in the book lies somewhere in between, neither bad nor great, but I will say there is nothing that isn't at least interesting to read.

Harkey's design is, as always, extremely elegant, and his writing is clear, though one wonders sometimes what century he thinks he's living in (suggesting as he does, for example, that, at the conclusion of Zuzu's Petals, you give the flower to a female spectator "to press into her scrapbook.").

Publish this in soft-cover and knock a few bucks off the price and I would be inclined to give it a higher rating, but at $30, it gets two-and-a-half stars.

David Acer

Product info for Ah-Ha!

Author: Harkey, David
Publisher: Clandestine Productions
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $30.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Watch a book of matches burst into flame without touching it. Unlock a car of any make by pointing at it. Learn a false shuffle and bridge you will actually use. Drop a borrowed coin into your drink, bringing the liquid to a boiling froth, then spoon out the coin, bent like a used bottle cap. Turn a pack of cards into solid stone, splitting like a rock when you drop it. Automatically switch decks under the noses of your audience, using subtlety rather than sleight of hand. Pluck the petals from a daisy, ending on she loves me not. Then blow on the flower, making one petal reappear. She loves me. Five years in the making, here is a collection of street - tested magic with calling cards, coffee cups, matches, coins, bills, rubber bands, newspapers, playing cards. pencils and more. More than twenty effects in all. Hardbound.

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