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Szechuan Sampler Review

May 24th, 2004 8:52pm
Reviewed by Sean Carpenter
You've already learned from prevous reviewers that this is a quality product. The dealer description is accurate, the props are well made, and the Chinese menus do indeed look like the real thing. I even showed them to a real Chinese person who confirmed that the Chinese writing is authentic - and not just some squiggles that Lee Earl made up in his bedroom. My only reservation about the props is that the gift certificate is not readable from more than a few feet away. This doesn't really matter, though, as there are lots of other ways of revealing the prediction. There are, however, a few points you may like to consider before you buy.

First, it could be risky sending the menus out into the audience while you remain on the stage. All it would take is one spectator to make a slight mistake, such as chosing a dish from the wrong section, and you would be up a certain creek without a paddle - or canoe. There is also the slight risk of a spectator calling out the wrong price, as the correct price will not always be printed directly next to the name of the dish. So if you want to be safe, and let's face it - you do, you really need to look over the spectator's shoulder and point out the correct price for them to read. This is annoying as, from a theatrical viewpoint, it would be much better to send the menus out into the crowd.

Performers from outside the USA should also be aware that all prices displayed on the menus are in dollars. So if you are a British performer performing in Britain, the menus are much more likely to be seen as magic props.
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Product info for Szechuan Sampler

Author: Earle, Lee
Publisher: Lee Earle Syzygy Press
Average Rating:  (3)
Retail Price: $50.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

EFFECT: Authentic menus from four different Chinese restaurants, representing a total of over 100 oriental delicacies, are given to participants from the audience. Looking over the menus, they can clearly see that no two prices are the same. A sealed gift certificate is presented to the four "diners" entitling them to sample one dish from each restaurant. They decide among themselves who will order each course. The participants freely choose from among Appetizers, Side Dishes, Entrees, and Desserts, stating aloud each dish and its price. The prices are openly written where all can see them.

After the "table check" for the meal is openly totaled, each "diner" agrees that, if he had picked some other item, the final sum would be a different figure altogether. The gift certificate is opened and read; the printed amount matches the total cost of the meal, to the penny. You also get Lee Earleā€™s delightful routine with all its subtleties, throw-offs, and laugh lines, for a presentation you can be really proud of. You can even repeat and get a different total. These beautiful menus are laminated (except for the take-out menu) for years of use. This is mental magic at its best. Automatic, easy, and entertaining.

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