Review: Secrets of Pickpocketing by James Brown & Daniele Sicorace of POWA Academy

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: Madame Curator”][vc_column_text]Pickpocketing is all about being able to dance in and out of someones personal space without them being aware. However, as entertainers we must only use our powers for good. In Secrets of Pickpocketing: The Beginners Guide to Master the Art of the Steal by POWA Academy, professional UK pickpocket and magician James Brown shows you how to do so ethically in the context of a theatrical environment.

While at a glance the price tag may put off the mere curious, it is a very worthwhile investment for the serious student. You receive a series of professionally shot videos (currently about 45 of them) that will continue to evolve and expand, and they are filmed with James in front of a clean white background with crisp clear audio.

Just like my earlier review of another POWA product, you will need to sign up on their website for a free account to watch the streamed instructional videos. You are also encouraged to ask questions, or provide shared experiences. The fellas at POWA are quick to chime in, just like instructors in an online classroom setting. It’s a helpful community, of magicians helping magicians.

Technical skills are taught in the series (which clocks to about 6 hours) besides vital instructions in misdirection, attention management and mindset. This online course in theatrical pickpocketing is well planned and paced out, teaching ‘soft’ skills first prior to blending them with technical steals to give you the best possible foundation. Personally, I appreciated this bit and James was very throughout in his sharing about mental and physical relaxation, misdirection and proximity, and more. And we’re just getting started 😉

If you’re a complete newbie, this would be a great investment as everything you need to know is covered. It is a truly comprehensive resource that I’d encourage you to take time to fully digest and work on. Don’t rush it. Techniques taught can benefit and integrate into your magic, mentalism and hypnosis. It’s not just about thieving! So, whether for overt or covert purposes, the course aims to bring you to the next level and give you the confidence to match. There’s quite some work to put in of course, so be prepared to roll up your sleeves and work it!

James has cleverly structured the course into many chapters, teaching you various techniques for jacket pocket (inner and outer) steals, belt steals, watch steals, tie steals, cufflink steals, lapel and trouser pocket (front and back) steals… even covering practical topics like who to pick, instances where you select someone who has nothing on them (it has happened before to a friend of mine who is a professional pickpocket artist working for Cirque du Soleil!), performance theory, reason and motivation, how to practice, overcoming fears and getting accused of stealing.

Being honest about your dishonesty is something James constantly puts across, and the veteran entertainer also shares about public liability insurance. Watching his live performance footage, you will get the sense of how he adeptly uses his brand of comedy and humour in his work. If you are wondering how and where pickpocketing fits into your performance then the Integrating Magic, Mentalism And Hypnosis chapter (Lesson 32 of 46) would be something you would want to dive into in this course.

Personally, I found it very helpful that all the videos are streamlined and edited in bite-sized segments, so you can easily watch (or re-watch) chapters/ episodes when you are commuting on the train for instance. It’s all very convenient since it is streamed from the POWA website. If you’re watching it on the bus, be sure to pack your earphones though! You’ll want to tune into the audio commentary that plays during the live footages of real performances in the streets and in bars.

Currently the guys at POWA are doing a double bonus feature where they gift you two effects (Box Clever and Snatch) free with the purchase of this course. And to sweeten the deal, when you sign up for their newsletter, you get two free effects (Stuck and Easy Steal) too. If you’re on the fence, I’d recommend you to sign up for your free POWA account and get the two free effects; check out Easy Steal and see if you agree with the philosophy and style James Brown radiates because he will be the dude teaching you all the skills you are about to learn.

Just remember, with great power comes great responsibility 😉

Highly recommended.

Please support intellectual property. Only buy original. Available directly from the nice fellas at POWA Academy.

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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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