Review: Mutate (Gimmicks and Online Instructions) by Arnel Renegado

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: Matthew Lee”][vc_column_text]This is effect is a variation of the Torn and Restored plot – A card is torn halfway down the middle, and then is restored visually in slow motion.

The restoration itself is extremely visual and what you see in the trailer is exactly what happens in real life. (When was the last time you could say that about a magic trick?) I advise shaking the card gently a bit more during the change itself however, as I feel that the gimmick will become obvious if the card is held too still – if you look at the trailer, at the end of the change the card is shaken rather violently to cover up a potential flash, but the idea is the same.


While the method used is new to me, I am told that it is actually similar to a very old trick – I will have to look it up, but suffice to say the method is good and it works well.

Other reviews have mentioned the angles involved, but I personally don’t think it’s a problem – there are angle limitations, but they are similar to your typical thumb tip bill switch – as long as the back is covered, all is good. Also, to put it in perspective, this is a TNR effect. The typical TNR effect normally has atrocious viewing angles, so this is frankly an improvement as far as angles are concerned.

I do feel that there are some other significant issues though – the restoration is good, but everything else is questionable. First of all the ad copy is a flat out lie. “A card is freely selected”. Yes, to the audience it should always be freely selected, but the magician has to force a card, then switch for a duplicate. This is again normally not an issue, because most magicians should already have a competent force. However, since the gimmick needs to be added to the deck before the trick begins the deck can’t be handled as freely – in the handling provided in the video, you are limited to only the riffle force. I can’t see a way to perform a better force without exposing the gimmick.

This is problematic, but by no means a deal breaker until you realise that getting into the position to perform the restoration is also quite problematic – you are expected to perform a top change immediately after the tear when everyone is burning the hands. I’m sure that some magicians will be able to do this, but for those that can’t, you cannot switch this for another technique. This is again because of the nature of the gimmick.

Oh and speaking of the tear, it has to be exactly straight and exactly a certain length or the effect is ruined. As always practice makes perfect, but still needs to be mentioned.

To give out the card for examination, a ditch must be made. It is taught well, but will require much practice.

I know the review makes it seem that I don’t like the trick, and in a sense that’s true. But I still think that the restoration itself is very good – the method is solidly deceptive and it is quite workable. But the handling both before and after that leaves much to be desired. For USD$25 I think it’s fair to expect more. If you do buy this, be prepared to think up an alternate handling by yourself, or perform this for camera only.

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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