Review: Standing Up on Stage – Volume 4 – Feats of Skill and Danger by Scott Alexander

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: John Teo”][vc_column_text]This is the fourth of 5 volumes which are like an encyclopedia on stage and parlour magic. In each volume, Scott Alexander concentrates on a different aspect of stage/parlour magic.

In addition to the actual effects he uses, he also discusses how to build the persona of the performing magician in “Character Building”, and how to work and collaborate with the stage hands and technicians in “Director’s Guide”.

The effects may be familiar to you, but when Scott puts his character and presentation on them, they become so different and so much more entertaining.


Volume 4 features “Skill And Danger”. Use these to highlight your skill and put your audience at the edges of their seats. These should be strong enough to close a show. They also provide good publicity visuals.

The Effects

  1. Card Manipulation – an act that demonstrates the skill of the performer. It also includes diminishing cards and cards from mouth. Scott discusses the importance of inner monologue.
  2. Eggs And Glasses – similar to the act by Emil Jarrow. It is basically a balancing routine based on science that Scott turns into a skilled act.
  3. Matches Melt – a cigarette through borrowed jacket danger effect that uses matches instead of a cigarette, and with the production of a glass of water from jacket as an unexpected ending.
  4. Needle Through Arm – a seemingly dangerous illusion performed with a lady assistant.

Character Building

Scott talks about humanising your act and discusses emotional hooks, vulnerability, sincerity and authenticity. He suggests using acting techniques in magic performance, and advises to always stay true to your own self.

Director’s Guide

In this volume, Scott explains the role of music and the emotional hook it provides to your act. He discusses using instrumental songs versus those with lyrics, and about paying royalties. He talks about the use of Chase Music, Tag Music, Audience Music, Underscoring Music and Walk-on Music. He also mentions a portable music system and the use of different types of microphones, the Audioape and the application, Show Cues.

Very good advice from someonw who is experienced and knows what stage and parlour magic is all about. Excellent when viewed with the other 4 volumes. A must if you wish to perform professionally on stage.

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.

Table of Contents

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