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Review of Enigma by Paulino Gil and Luis De Matos

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Review of Enigma by Paulino Gil and Luis De Matos

Enigma by Paulino Gil and Luis De Matos

Enigma is a close-up effect where a loop of string penetrates through your fingers in five different phases. This effect is being released for the first time and has been a signature routine of magician Paulino Gil for some 30 years. The cords are not gimmicked and the effect can be performed with no preparation - you simply bring out the cords and perform it. Another aspect that I like is that the routine occurs in multiple phases, and at the end, you’re clean.

Multiple Phases

In the first phase, the cord is looped over the middle finger as the hand is held in a fist, and with a pull, the loop moves to the ring finger. The second phase again involves a loop around the middle finger and with a pull, the loop comes off. In the third phase, the loop is locked around the finger, and yet, the loop still manages to move to the ring finger.

In the fourth phase, two cords of different colors are employed. One cord is looped around the middle finger and the other around the ring finger. With a tug of the cord, the loops change places. In the final phase, the cords are looped around the fingers and tied with a knot to form rings, which are then pulled off the fingers. And interestingly, at end of this final phase, the rings are found to be linked together. If you like, in each phase, a spectator can hold the magicians hand to verify that the loops are not somehow slipping off of the tips of the fingers.

Learning the Routine

The instructions are adequate and this being another first class production by Luis de Matos, the video and audio are clear and easy to follow. The kit comes with a red and white cords, and a chain, all of the same length. It provides everything that you need to perform the trick.

The routine is not difficult to learn and perform, although it takes practice to do well. All of the action occurs at the performer’s waist level and the effect has some angle issues from the side and back. Also, you’ll have to watch angles should you choose to perform while your spectators are seated. The routine can be successfully performed in this situation, but you’ll need to be careful. For this reason, this one is not optimal for restaurant work. A more ideal situation is where everyone, including you, is standing.

On paper, this one features lots of elements that I like in a close-up routine. The props are simple and can be examined. The routine occurs in several phases with different phenomena occurring in each. There’s no preparation and no reset. There’s also lots of potential for spectator interaction as they can choose the fingers to link and unlink, assist with the tying and more. Furthermore, the effect is quite baffling.


However, in execution, the "Enigma" routine plays much like a linking and unlinking rubber band routine. Personally, I already have a routine with rubber bands where two bands unlink in four different ways in four phases, as well as another four-phased routine where a borrowed finger ring links and unlinks with a rubber band. While these routines are baffling, I rarely perform them as I have yet to come up with a presentation beyond "I do this, and this, and this happens..." At least in my hands, I find these routines to be mostly baffling puzzles.

So while I’m intrigued with Enigma and appreciate the fresh new angle, I am not motivated to learn and perform it.

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