Review: Merge by Paul Romhany

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: Madame Curator” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left”][vc_column_text]I first met award-winning Kiwi magician, Paul Romhany, back in 2011 when he was working cruise ships and brought his artistic Charlie Chaplin magic act to Asia. This was just some months prior to him starting VANISH magazine.

Hanging out with him, his lovely wife Natalie and their beautiful baby over brunch, Romhany struck me as the real deal; an authentic gentleman who was a doting husband and family man, and a true worker of magic with very solid magic theory who was not afraid to share his knowledge and passion.

Not a stranger to the industry, Romhany already has a good deal of well-received magic products already in the market that are perfect for fellow professional magicians, like his Chair Test and Dream Prediction. So I had high expectations for his latest release, Merge, a close-up linking finger rings routine that lets you use audience-borrowed rings of any size.

I was super stoked when my order finally arrived in the mail. Packaged in a clear ziplock plastic bag was the very well-produced 46-page instructional booklet (with photos clearly illustrating the handling), the password to the 37 minute long instructional video (a real sweet bonus considering the booklet was more than good enough) available online from Murphy’s Magic, besides the special himber ring and its ungimmicked duplicate.

I do love the linking finger ring (LFR) plot in magic. There are several different types of himber rings out there (from high-end ones precision crafted by Joe Proper to the more affordable “made in China” basic variety), as well as, a wide offering of different presentations taught by some of contemporary magic’s greatest artists like Tom Stone and David Regal.

I still recall my very first LFR performance – it was over a decade ago, for a large audience with a ‘live’ video feed with projection on the auditorium’s giant screen. Pulling it off using Jonathan Pendragon’s method that also involves a wine glass, I realized how incredibly strong the LFR effect was, when the crowd reacted massively to how the openly borrowed rings magically got that way.

Romhany’s Merge rings come in black gunmetal and I think it’s a good look for most of us magicians, unless you are a stage performer who wears the traditional tuxedo then you’d probably choose a classic signet style himber ring. Also, Merge wouldn’t be for you anyway; Romhany explicitly states that his LFR routine is only meant for close-up/ walk around magic.

If you’re thinking of using your own himber rings for Romhany’s routine, don’t bother. Merge only works with that particular black ring Romhany supplied. One thing I appreciate about his ring is that is robust and will last for years. If you accidentally misplace it, it’s not the end of the world since it is not expensive… so there’s no cause for ennui there. Just purchase a replacement.

I’ve got the typical smallish slender hands of your regular Asian girl, so I wear the Merge ring around my neck on a chain, since its ring size (one size only) is a tad too big for me. That being said, I’m sure Romhany’s himber ring would very comfortably fit most guys (the 99.9% of you magicians out there), but you can also choose to wear it the same way that I do if it suits you.

Coming back to Romhany’s instructions for Merge, I was very impressed with the thick booklet and even more so with the video download. The online instructional video is broken down into 14 handy chapters, inclusive of real audience performances that allows you to see how effective Romhany’s LFR routine works with lay people.

It’s no secret that many magic creators push out effects that are sometimes quite honestly rubbish, just so they can make a quick buck these days. Safe to say, Romhany’s not one of them. Merge is very well done – as a product it is excellently produced and professionally packaged, with its content’s quality exceptional for the price it’s sold for.

It is obvious that Romhany has used Merge in his professional repertoire for many years, spending much time thinking through and refining his method, secret moves (his one hand unlink method is really quite brilliant) and show presentation, before releasing his brainchild as a gem you can purchase for US$50.

The tutorial for Merge is well taught; Romhany shows various ages and alternatives to the secret sleights and his handling is surprisingly angle friendly (you can comfortably perform this surrounded), with a bonus that you don’t need to be a magic ninja to pull off this instant reset, anytime, anywhere, close-up miracle. Obviously, please be sure to practice Merge well before performing it.

Overall, I am genuinely happy with Merge. It really is a worker’s dream and not a mere magic effect best suited only for YouTube. The routine is well motivated, free and open, and you may even allow your spectators check out the ring before and after.

Outstanding stuff that is worth much more than its listed retail price. Well done, Mr Romhany.

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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