Review: HARPACROWN by Mark Chandaue

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: Maarten Bosmans”][vc_column_text]I recently bought Harpacrown from UK mentalist Mark Chandaue. The book was designed by Phill Smith who also did the layout of other famous mentalism books like Ken Dyne’s Bairn which I reviewed a while ago.

There are 2 varieties available: regular and collector’s edition, with the latter being a hard-cover book and the former a soft-cover version. The collector’s edition also has extra routines from Mark and other mentalists like Mark Elsdon and Michael Murray. Even though I bought the softcover edition, I am still really pleased with it.

The book starts off with an essay about Mark’s father. This man was a famous UK magician and Mark tells a very emotional story about his family life. This story is really sad but also inspiring as Mark puts himself into a very vulnerable place at the beginning of his book. It showed me that no matter how low you fall in life you can always become a better man… just believe in yourself!

In this book you will find a number of essays about performing, which were really eye-opening for me. I really loved Mark’s essay about magician’s guilt and going pro. The first part of the effects is coin mentalism. Mark shares a number of different effects with coins like coin bending routines. In one routine, different coins that the spectator holds in their hands are bent. In another routine, he predicts the date of a coin the spectator has chosen. There are many more such routines.

The one routine that in my humble opinion is worth the money of the book, is the effect called Numbers. It is loosely based on Nate’s Stanisforth lottery prediction

Mark has created a low budget effect of this routine which you can do anywhere and you use multiple spectators in your act. It is a lovely routine which I will be using in my act. I will not delve much into the handling but when you read this, you will immediately ask yourself “Why didn’t I think about this?!”

Mark also has a “rock paper scissors” routine; his ideas for using an out to lunch system; and his ideas for different commercial effects which are widely available like Glance (magazine book test from Vanishing Inc), Directors Cut, etc.

The only problem I have with this book is that it is not aimed at beginners of mentalism. Mark often talks about different effects when describing the method. I have many items in my magic closet, many products which Mark talks about, but I can imagine if you begin with this book you will be flabbergasted with the terms Mark uses.

Mark also often talks about reading Bob Cassidy’s work which I really concur with he is a master in his field. As a side note most of the effects Mark explains in this book are more suited in a close up environment, but I can imagine that an experienced performer can create this in a stage setting.

I give this book a 9/10 because I really liked the effects in this book. While most of them are simple to do, some of them require a bit of a set-up, but with this set-up you can acquire miracles in your set.

Magic is our passion but we are not a magic shop ? You can purchase this here!

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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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