magicseen takes a look at what's hot and what's not!

why he does what he does, beyond the morally dubious, "I am genuinely psychic," or the increasingly hackneyed, "I use my five senses to create the illusion of a sixth." Some of these stories might read too hokey for some in the cold light of day, but Smith's intention is to place the performer at the centre, and not the trick; so these premises seek to logically embed the magic you do within a tantalising and absorbing theatrical portrayal.

So what of the effects and routines themselves? There is standard fare such as the book test, bank night, one ahead and drawing divination plots in the mix, but at the heart of many of the routines are psychological forces, giving them a pure and somewhat bold Banachek-style sensibility. One effect in particular - Atypical, where the performer is able to divine the visuals and details of a scenario imagined by a spectator - got me thinking, and I imagine there's lots of scope for variation with its pleasingly audacious methodology.

Smith's comprehensive descriptions and patter lend a relevance and vibrancy to the routines, and a humour throughout; I laughed out loud more than once at the author's playfulness. This, together with a smattering of British cultural references that will puzzle our American friends for a change, made me warm towards this book. (There is also a funny graphic depicting famous performer's beards - The Maven, The Salem, The Brown, and The Burger; but, alas, no Leveridge).

This is a quality publication all round, and although I'm too stupid to understand why the book's cover design looks like it's a close-up of a public urinal wall, it's the content that matters, and the content is slick, smart and modern mentalism with the minimum of fuss. DL

WHAT'S HOT: Written with humour, and full of no-nonsense routines. WHAT'S NOT: A number of psychological forces utilised that may conspire against you. STAR RATING: ****

Advanced Hypnosis For Newbies

Advanced Hypnosis For Newbies

For anyone concerned that this is a report designed to teach readers how to convince crowds of people to act like chickens or dance to an unheard song just with a carefully placed keyword - relax. While hypnosis is often paraded in that form with large crowds visiting celebrity hypnosis experts to see what wonders they can perform, the majority of hypnosis used is to aid people seeking a solution to a problem they cannot resolve easily with any other method.

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