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Sweet DVD Review

Official Review

September 24th, 2004 4:49pm
Reviewed by Bryce Kuhlman
I had a hard time watching this DVD. I felt like I was on a wacky roller-coaster. Some times I was totally impressed and having a great time. Then I would be taken a ride through the pit of despair (it really wasn't that bad, but I like the metaphor).

For the sake of my readers' sanity, I will try to break up the pros and cons so that you don't have to ride a roller-coaster of my own making.

Chris is very charming and has wonderfully expressive hands. Some of the work is magical simply to watch in progress. It's quite "flashy" at times. He also has some great themes that lend themselves to beautiful interpretations.

In many cases, Chris has improvements and offbeat ideas that really work. "Sugar High" is a nice impromptu bit that could work well for anyone working or patronizing a restaurant. There's a routine that combines the 3-Fly premise with a torn and restored card.

If I had to find one word to describe my dissatisfaction, it would be "contradiction". There were too many times where a beautiful premise was killed by a poor script and/or presentation.

I also get the sense that the performer has somehow missed the "basics" and gone right into the "advanced" work. Amongst all of the fancy maneuvers, there were basic switches, palms and vanishes that were terribly sloppy. There was quite a bit of what Jeff McBride calls "Simian Magic" -- hands down, heads down. We get the choice (or the director's choice, in this case) of watching either the props or the magician's face, but not both.

While some of the themes were quite nice, I’m sorry, I don't think DEAD FISH is a good starting place for a routine… even if the performer does bring the fish back to life. Stick with the old carrot bit.

There was one technical problem: the audio recording was poor. The audience drowned out the performer more times than I can remember.

Finally, there is a question of character and motivation. One routine had the (rather young) performer essentially hitting on a woman twice his age. Later in the DVD, there is a mention of "picking up girls" with magic. I'm not sure these are the models we want to portray to young magicians.

If you're interested in some interesting "bits", I think you can find some good source material here. I emphasize source because I believe Randall has some great ideas, but it's going to take much more effort to really develop them.

Product info for Sweet DVD

Author: Chris Randall
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $29.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

Chris Randall's fast-paced, original effects, cutting edge thinking culminate in several highly visual, entertaining routines. Ranging from easy to advanced, there is absolutely something for everyone in the following seventeen effects:

  • Ashes - His favorite magician fooler, Chris FINALLY tips his work on the ultimate visual ace assembly! CARDS INCLUDED!
  • Sugar High - The powder in a sealed packet of sweetener magically changes according to a spectator's wishes!
  • Silverose - A flower, fire, and a romantic mood combine to make the most visual coin production you have ever seen!
  • Pip Squeek - The center pip vanishes from an ace, leaving a real hole - then instantly and visibly is restored!
  • Frankenfish - One of the wildest effects ever! Bring a dead fish back to life right in front of their eyes!
  • Jumbo X - Three giant coins appear and vanish at the fingertips in an incredibly visual sequence!
  • Phone Card - A chosen card turns into a cell phone, then it appears inside the phone itself!
  • Portable Phoenix - A real live bird emerges from the real live flames of a burning wallet!
  • Pop Go the Aces - An easy yet HIGHLY VISUAL instantaneous production of four aces!
  • Re-Fly - Imagine: four pieces of a torn selection magically fly from hand to hand, restoring together into a complete card - ALL AT THE FINGERTIPS!!
  • Mouthing Off - Make a card VISUALLY change while held between your teeth!
  • All Rolled Up - A chosen card appears rolled up between the spectator's palms!
  • 7 Digits - A phone number magically appears on a blank piece of paper! A great date trick!
  • Influence - Predict a randomly thought-of shape in the fairest possible manner!
  • 8 Ball - A blank card is printed with the graphics of an 8 ball. Pull a REAL 8 ball from the card, and the graphics are gone! Then, put the ball back, it's flat again!
  • Heaven's Aces - A knuckle buster! One at a time, four jokers appear at the fingertips then change into the aces! Tough, but worth the work!
  • And There's More - Pop Art, a magical card revelation, and W.O.W. (Words of Wisdom_ - Chris' philosophies on proper magical performance!

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