Review: French Postcards by Chris Philpott

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: Bernard Sim”][vc_column_text]Out of This World is probably one of the card effect that has been morphed into many variations. Paul Curry’s original version is one of the most clever and easy to do card effect I love. I am not a fan of card tricks but I sure do like this effect. If you don’t know about this effect, it’s basically a card separation of the black cards and red cards into two piles, all these are seemingly done by the spectator without the magician’s involvement.  It is easy to do as well as magical.

Throughout the years, many variations have come and gone. There are variations on handlings and some can even be done impromptu. Susbsequently, gimmicked versions also arrived. One of the gimmicked versions would be the late Dean Dill and Michael Weber’s New World. This version is very strong but the only downside is that this cannot be examined by the spectator.

Then came variations where the plot is the same but the presentation is different. One of them would be Whitestar by Jim Critchlow. The presentation evolve around survivors and non-survivors of the sunken Titanic. This is the closest resemblance to French Postcards among the many variations out there.

I think I will use Whitestar as a comparison to French Postcards for this review. I like Whitestar, it has a very spooky effect and yet unexplainable, seems that the dead is doing all the separation work. The cards are small which makes it easy to handle but the card stock make give in to wear and tear eventually. Due to that, I had my set laminated to prevent wear and tear. I even made a marking on the laminate in order to do the no-setup version.

For French Postcards, the cards are funny and will bound to make your spectator smile. Depending on how raunchy you want it to be, you can control that with your patter. With cards like that, you will not run out of patter. I like the thoughts behind this effect and I am always a sucker for adult themed effects. Having said that, I find that postcard size cards are a bit difficult to handle. Though they are more visible and can be catered to a larger crowd, I feel that smaller size cards is also suitable for large crowds. The postcards are thick but spreading them is very difficult. One of the performance method will require you to spread the cards and do a cut. This is very important but it is not as easy as what was written, perhaps fanning powder will help.

Instructions came in a booklet form; those who perform Out Of This World would probably have no need for the instructions. However, there is a second method by Jon Armstrong that does not require the spectator to switch side (you know what I’m talking about if you perform OOTW). It is easy to do and I immediately tried that on my wife.  She was enjoying the effect when I was revealing on she did so far until I did the “move”. She caught it immediately; perhaps she is a magician’s wife which makes it harder to pull that move. I think with proper misdirection, this can be accomplished. Included are video instructions and additional effects but you’d be require to email Chris Philpott with a password. I don’t know why he doesn’t want to include it in the booklet.

So to wrap things up, I like OOTW, I like Whitestar and I like French Postcards but I don’t really like the size and quality of the cards. It make great presentation patters. At $24.95, this is a good buy.

Rating: 7.5/10 (would be higher if the card stock is better)  

[usr 7.5]

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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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