Review: Svenlopes (Black) by Sven Lee

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: John Teo”][vc_column_text]I truly believe that the Svengali Deck is one of the most innovative gimmicked decks ever invented.  Magicians have taken the Svengali principle and applied it to other forms of cards such as postcards and flashcards.  It is also used in book forces.  But no one has applied it to envelopes, until now.

Sven Lee’s “Svenlopes” are envelopes made to contain poker sized playing cards.  You receive 50 Svenlopes in black colour.  25 of them are regular envelopes and the other 25 are force envelopes.  They come in a nice plastic container, which I believe also serves to protect the envelopes during storage and transportation.

The quality of the paper is very good, it is thick enough so that the envelopes are opaque, but at the same time, not too stiff for proper handling.  You are also provided with a password to download 2 pdf booklets.  One containing 24 pages describes the envelopes, their set-up, how to handle them, and 5 ways of convincing the audience that each envelope has a different content.  The other booklet has 123 pages and provides 32 routines, presentations and variations using the Svenlopes.

Anything that is thin and up to a poker playing card size can be put inside the Svenlope.  These include credit cards, name cards, flash cards, photographs, prediction messages, and folded bills.  Thicker items such as a coin, a poker chip, or a key can also be used with the envelopes.  Bulkier items are not advisable since in use, the Svenlopes are to be stacked on top of one another.

If you do not have any idea how to use the Svenlopes, the thicker booklet gives you 32 different effects.  Routine 10 (American Presidents) is the basic use of the Svenlopes, where you can divine which one of 50 American presidents is chosen by a spectator.  Routines 11 to 19 are variations of this routine using different themes such as movies, countries and superheroes.  All the graphics are supplied in the booklet so that you can print them and use them straight away.

Routine 1 (Triple Divination) uses miniature playing cards.  Several miniaturized cards are placed in each of the 50 envelopes.  The performer can divine not only how many cards are contained in the selected envelope, but also tell the exact identities of all of them.  Graphics of these miniaturized playing cards are also given for you to print and cut them out for use.  Routine 5 (Stack Punch) is an interesting variation of this routine but uses only 26 Svenlopes.

A good mental effect using 2 special spectators such as a husband and wife, is given in Routine 4 (Sven Stack Pack).  It uses 26 Svenlopes and miniature playing cards.  The performer can tell not only what card is chosen by each of them, but also the character of the spouse described by each of the couple.  The choice of the envelope in this routine is also totally at random.  

Other routines in the booklet worthy of mention are:

  • Routine 7 (Mr Impossible) – a spectator selects an envelope which contains several miniaturized playing cards, but only take out one of them.  Yet the performer can tell which card is secretly detained by the spectator.
  • Routine 20 (Thrill Bill) – the performer can recite the serial number of a bill selected by the spectator.  50 bills (and envelopes) are used, and the serial numbers of the bills are not altered or gimmicked in any way.

There is a bonus section in the booklet which gives 10 routines using a set of 6 multi-coloured Svenlopes.  Only 5 of these 6 envelopes are used.  If your set does not come with the multi-coloured Svenlopes, the bonus routines can be used for 5 of your same coloured Svenlopes.

These routines use a clever force of the cards placed inside each envelope.  Again, graphics for the cards recommended are provided in the booklet.  The cards used are the ESP cards, playing cards, movie posters, superheroes and favourite questions asked about the spectators themselves.  

In some of the routines, another clever principle is brought into play.  Here, you divine not only the physical selection of one spectator, but also the mere thought (no envelope or card being selected) of a second spectator!  This one looks like real mind reading.

The Svenlopes will surely find its place as a classic standard device for magic and mentalism such as the thumb-tip, the marked deck and the swami-writer.  Their use is limited only by your imagination.  

When you purchase the Svenlopes, not only do you get the well manufactured Svenlopes, but also the invaluable booklet of routines which gives you wonderful principles and ideas that you will want to add to your own performing repertoire.  

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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