Review: At the Table Live Lecture Martin Lewis

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: Michael Siegel”][vc_column_text]At the Table lecture series featured the great Martin Lewis on October 21, 2015. Martin Lewis is a British born magician who is in fact a third generation professional magician. I suppose his blood lineage makes him magic royalty. Martin Lewis has created some of the best known and widely used magic by  professional magicians world-wide. His creativity is only matched by his story telling ability and professional manner. In this wonderful lecture, Martin performs and explains his best known magic creations. In addition, Martin performs and explains both stage/stand-up/parlor effects and close-up effects so you can an excellent value from this outstanding lecture whether you are interested in stage/standup/parlor or close-up magic.    

Martin performs and explains 7 stand-up, parlor and stage magic.

  1. Undivided. This is a fabulous version of the torn and restored cigarette paper originally attributed to Nate Leipzig. I have been doing Martin Lewis’s version for 15 years. You clearly show a single sheet of cigarette paper and tear it into four pieces. The unique and visual display of the four individual pieces created by Martin Lewis is what truly makes this a theatrical piece playable in a small intimate parlor setting to a thousand seat theater. After the torn pieces are rolled into a ball, it is immediately opened to reveal it has been restored. As the fully restored piece of paper is blown into the air and flutters down to the floor, your hands are clearly empty. This is simply a marvelous piece of theater and it is very easy to do. 
  2. Repeating card effect. A deck of cards is placed in a clear houlette. A card is removed and inserted into the middle of the deck. The deck is momentarily covered with a hankerchief and the card reappears in the face of the deck. This is repeated several times with a solid finale. Instead of a card houlette, a stemmed wine glass can be used. This is a classic, elegant stage or parlor routine and easy to perform.
  3. Senior Mardo’s Egg bag routine: Instead of an egg, Martin Lewis’s twist to this classic effect is to use a golf ball instead of the egg and a golf ball themed routine. After the golf ball appears and disappears from the bag, for his finale Martin produces a golf club from the bag. While he shows you how to make the special golf club, unless you are very handy you will not be using this finale. If you like a golf ball theme then you can certainly use this routine.
  4. Jumbo Sidewalk Shuffle. This is a terrific stage or parlor routine. I used to perform the close-up version a lot.  Basically it is a monte routine with a twist. You how four jumbo cards, three of which are blank and the fourth is an Ace. The Ace vanishes from where you thought it would be and reappears where you thought the blank card was. This is done several different times with various outcomes. As a kicker finale, the three blank cards turns into three Aces and the ace turns into a blank card. This is a killer effect and great for stage, parlor or stand-up. The cards are specially made so you will have to purchase the set from Murphy’s Magic, but well worth it.
  5. Signature Sketchpad Rising Cards (Cardiograph): This is probably Martin Lewis’s most well-known effect, and rightfully so. I think most every professional magician in the world has at some time or another used this marvelous magic effect. I have seen it many times performed on TV as well.  If you do any stand up, parlor or stage work, you should get this. Basically, a spectator selects a card from a regular sized deck unknown to the performer. You take out a sketch pad and say you are going to reveal the freely selected card by drawing it on a sketch pad. You draw an Ace, but that was not the selected card. Undaunted by your apparent failure, you add few lines to the drawing and the Ace becomes the front of a complete deck of cards. While holding the sketch pad in full view to the audience, a drawn card actually rises up from the drawn deck of cards, which exactly matches the spectator’s freely selected card. Now for even more amazing part.  You rip out the page with the now drawing of both the deck of cards and the drawing of the now risen selected card coming out from the deck and give it to the spectator as a souvenir. It is simply an amazing and a jaw dropping effect. Very entertaining. In the lecture he does show you how to make it. But do yourself a favor. It is such an astonishing piece of magic, just buy the professionally made effect from Murphy’s Magic.
  6. Techniclor Prediction. You show three colored envelopes: red, blue and yellow. You ask a man to select one envelope. Let’s say he selects yellow. A woman freely selects another envelope. Let’s say she picks the red envelope. The blue envelope is left for the performer. All choices were freely made and each person could have selected a different envelope. The performer opens the blue envelope and removes a single piece of paper which is written on it, “I will be left with the blue envelope.” The man opens his yellow envelope and he removes the single piece of paper which has written on it, “The man will select the yellow envelope.” Finally, the woman opens her red envelope and also removes the piece of paper inside which states, “The woman will select the red envelope.” It is a terrific, very direct, easy to understand mentalism effect. There is no sleight of hand required.  This is a commercial effect which you have to purchase separately, although he does explain the entire workings of the effect.

Before switching to the close-up portion of the lecture, Martin shows a very good single card production from a clearly empty hand. It would make Jeff McBride jealous since you can produce a playing card from your hand after showing both sides empty without any sleight of hand. When you learn the secret you will laugh.

The close-up portion of Martin Lewis’s lecture consists of him performing and explaining 6 routines:

  1. A red pencil is pushed through your hand and half of the pencil turns yellow. It is pushed back again and it turns back to red. You push it all the way through your hand and the entire pencil turns yellow. You can immediately give the pencil out to a spectator. Very easy to perform and a devilishly clever method.
  2. A deck of cards is given to a spectator to hold underneath a cloth. The spectator is instructed mix the cards and to take a card and to put that card into his pocket. The spectator then takes another card to put aside and a third card is selected under the cover of the cloth and inserted upside down in the center of the deck. The performer then reveals each of the three chosen cards. It is a very good routine, but does require a specially made commercially available deck that you need to purchase.
  3. Cards across. Three different spectators select one card each and each of three cards are signed by the spectators. Those three signed cards are mixed in with a bunch of other cards. The performer gives another spectator a bunch of cards to hold under a cloth. The packet of cards where the signed cards were placed in are shown and the signed, selected cards vanished from the pile. The other spectator is asked to take out the set of cards he had been holding since the beginning of the routine. The signed cars have joined those cards. This is a similar plot to Paul Harris’ and David Blane’s Strange Travelers (no longer in production) and Daryl’s Crossed Cards where a selected card vanishes from one pile of cards held by a spectator and lands in another pile held by the performer. What makes Martin Lewis’ version so unique and strong is that it uses three different cards and the cards are signed the spectators. Very strong effect and easy to perform.
  4. Queenie. A gambling themed 3 card Monte routine which starts out using three cards and the Queen is not found where it should be. The routine then uses only two cards and a wallet and still the Queen is not found where it should be. The routine is fast past and fun. What I like about this routine is that it avoids the trap where too many Monte routines fall prey to by making the spectator look like a loser by failing to find the odd card. Martin weaves a story into the magic so the magic happens without the spectator looking like a fool.  This is a terrific and entertaining effect. You can buy the special cards at most dealers and you do need to get a special wallet which most magicians have anyway. It not, there are several inexpensive wallets of this type that can be found which also can be used for many other type of routines.
  5. Another find the card trick with a gambling theme. A card is selected from a deck. Let’s say it is the 2 of clubs. and then returned to the deck. The performer talks about different methods that a gambler might use to know what cards are being used such as a marked deck. The performer puts on some funny glasses that is supposed to help him see the markings on the backs of the cards. The deck is spread and lo and behold a big 2 of clubs is written on the back of one of the cards. No other card has any markings. However, when you turn over the card it is not the 2 of clubs. The performer than talks about how some gamblers use special dealing techniques to know what cards are being used. He takes out a postage stamp to put on the back of the deck and demonstrate how to deal cards.  The postage stamp is loose on the top of the deck and each time a card is dealt you can see the stamp freely going onto the next card in the deck. Then all of a sudden the stamp actually adheres itself to a card. The stamp is stuck on that card. You turn over that card and it is the 2 of clubs that was previously selected. A very commercial and fun routine. Not difficult to do.
  6. McAbree Rings. The last close-up trick Martin Lewis performs and explains is the McAbree Rings, a set of close-up linking rings. The routine follows a series of on and off linking of the rings while the rings are held by the spectators. As a highlight, after the routine the spectators can actually examine the rings. They will not find anything. There are no switches. This is a commercial effect that you have to purchase if you do not already own a set. It is an excellent, classic close-up linking ring routine.  

Don’t expect a high energy, over the top electrifying lecture. Being an older British person, Martin Lewis is more laid back and reserved than other magicians. However, you should expect to see and learn practical, solid, classic, well thought out professional routines with great stories and plots intertwined with the magic created by a great professional magician to be used by professionals in both stage or parlor and close-up settings. I did have to take off a few points only because many of the routines require that you purchase these commercially available effects.

Highly recommended. 

[usr 8.5]

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Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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