Review: COIL by Jay Sankey

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Over the years of performing close up magic, one of the moves which I have probably used (and abused) the most, comes from the mind of Jay Sankey. Ever since watching him on a set of “The Magic of Canada” VHS tapes, I have found him to be one of the most creative close up magicians around.

In Coil, Sankey presents you with what I would consider to be a “pseudo” metal bending routine. Not pseudo in the sense of effect for the audience, but in the sense of the method. Contrary to the usual metal bending routines which do require you to actually do the bends in real time, Coil gives you a way of performing metal bending in a kind of “preshow” kind of way. I guess you can consider this to be closer or akin to a coin magic sleight of hand method for doing metal bending.

The effect is simple – you hand out a solid steel nail for examination. It is as it is, impossible to bend with bare hands. However, you do cause it to bend, slowly and visually at the fingertips, or if you like, inside your fist where it literally, “coils” into the shape of a ring. This can be worn around your finger!

My favourite application is one done with an empty can of coke. The nail is cleanly inserted into an empty can of coke. The can is then swirled around gently and is then slit open at the side; the nail is dumped out, now coiled into a metal ring. A lovely subtlety is that due to its current shape, this ring now cannot be inserted thru the top opening of the can (where just a moment ago it was just seen to be put through).

Another that I fancy is even simpler in appearance. The nail is openly dropped into an empty glass. Similar to the can of coke, the glass is then swirled around and the nail is heard to be spinning within it. It is then poured out of the glass, where it is seen to have coiled itself into a ring.

Sankey gives you many ideas and handlings, which will ignite your imagination to develop your own. I have always found his teachings to be clear and full of enthusiasm, which is almost infectious. Watching Sankey perform almost makes me feel like wanting to be better.

This set comes complete with all the necessary gimmicks to perform the basic routines. Should you wish to perform some of the moves as cleanly as Sankey, you would need to construct a very simple device, with easily available items that you can get from an arts and crafts store.

The visual impact of these little pieces of magic make for a nice opening routine and Sankey does describe them as such. I have not tried them out at a gig, but having performed a simple routine for some of the kids in my school (I run a student care centre), I can say that it does draw squeals of delight.

[usr 7.5]

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ning
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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