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DVD Review: 100% Commercial Mentalism-Andrew Normansell

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DVD Review: 100% Commercial Mentalism-Andrew Normansell

As the title implies, Andrew Normansell’s 100% Commercial Mentalism DVD offers the magician’s favorite mentalism effects. According to the liner notes, Normansell has made his living performing magic for some twenty years by working for prestigious companies both in the UK and abroad and is a regular on the UK comedy club circuit. As we’ve seen in earlier reviews, Normansell is a master of comedy and card sleight-of-hand, and on this DVD, he shows off his prowess with mind miracles.

Normansell offers mentalism that works on stage and in some close-up situations. He has an engaging stage presence and the solid effects that he presents here are not difficult to learn and perform and offer lots of opportunities to interact with spectators. While most rely on playing cards, none require any sleight-of-hand. A few require the use of a memorized or stacked deck, but all are easy to perform.

Pick a Country

One of the Normansell’s rare non-card effects, Rising Sun uses a series of luggage tags that are each marked with different countries. The magician asks a spectator to randomly pick one of the tags from a paper bag and is able to divulge the country. This one is easy to perform and relies on a clever principle.

A stage effect that Normansell uses as an opener is Dr X. Here, a number of jumbo cards are displayed and the performer explains that they have been selected for psychological reasons and discusses the various reasons a spectator may choose one or the other. The spectator is given a free choice to name any card, and it’s found to be the only one that is marked on the back. This one is easy and foolproof, and there are no gimmicked cards.

I particularly liked The Janus Game, an effect that is probably best performed close-up. Here, a spectator is given a deck of cards and asked to randomly mix the cards face up and face down. The face down cards are continually removed the deck, and the process continues until the spectator whittles the deck down to a few remaining cards. The spectator names one of the cards and it matches the magician’s prediction. This one is ultra-easy.

Draw on This

Another of the few non-card effects, Doodlebug has the performer and a spectator standing back to back and simultaneously drawing pictures on pads. At the end, the pictures match. This miracle requires no forces or secret viewing, but happens via the magic of some sneaky pre-show work and some clever psychology. And the spectator is fooled along with the rest of the audience.

High Five relies on a spectacular force-it fried me. The magician shuffles a deck of cards, the spectator cuts the deck into five piles and turns over the top cards of each pile. The spectator than selects the highest value card from those that appear on top of each pile. The magician shows that he has predicted the selected card. Normansell presents this one as a stage effect, but it’s probably best for close-up. There’s not much for audiences in a theater to watch.

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