At The Shop
Click here to read the review policy of Visions
Magic and Mentalism of Barrie Richardson,
"The Magic and Mentalism of Barrie Richardson", an outstanding collection in three volumes, covers some of the best material from one of the best creators and best thinkers in magic, bar none, which makes this the perfect collection to help bring out the best in any serious performer.
That's not hype. I can't begin to tell you how much Richardson's work, "Theater of the Mind", influenced me. Even the effects I didn't use and didn't care for taught me more about routining and presentation and the elements of an effect than I'd have picked up in a few years of careful training and deliberation. So, with that in mind, these discs were things I knew I simply had to have. I'm on the third viewing of some of the material and I'm still as thrilled as I was the day I tore off the plastic. This is a master of his craft at his finest.
Here's the thing about Richardson: he's Barrie. There's no stage persona. There's no "character". Richardson didn't even up the amperage on who he is: Barrie. He's magic's Everyman, the regular guy without the flash and with all the substance and who, with a smile here and a grin there and a light laugh can win over pretty much any audience he encounters. Walk through walls, burn holes in his head, grow horns? Not Richardson. He's Barrie. He's normal but mysteries happen with those around him. He talks to the people he stands in front of, not down to them, no at them. And it's the most successful strategy I've ever seen. I've seen the man turn a room full of jaded magicians into giggling, smiling, and entertained folks with as little as a quick story or a short trick. Richardson is a skilled lecturer and it shows in his performance.
His magic is the same way. It's not flashy. Fire doesn't appear from nowhere. Cards don't go spinning around the room. Heads don't spin around, disappear, or change into that of a rabid wombat. It's quiet, Richardson's magic is; it's subtle. It's involving and engaging and can't be dismissed, not because of its simplicity but instead because Richardson doesn't perform tricks: he shares magic, and something that is shared is worth much more than something that is shown.
Keep that in mind when you watch Richardson perform. Or, rather, just be himself and enjoy having the audience be there with him.
Now, having said all of that, let's discuss methods. Richardson is all about simplicity. Richardson likes his methods to be simple and direct and often classical -- how could they not be anything else? And when something works for him, he sticks to it. From that comes refinements that take those simple methods and elevate them just enough to make them worth breaking out again. Take his "Impossible Knot Routine". Come on, who of us have not tried that "tie-a-knot-without-letting-go-of-the-ends" thing? It's cute. But when Richardson get ahold of it, it's not longer cute; it's a mystery with just a slight change here and there that add up to an entertaining piece of magic.
I'm not going to go through all the effects; there's too many. Check out the ad copy -- it's honest and fair with every effect it describes. I will say that "Airplane Cards", "Inexplicable Bill in Lemon Effect", "Choices Have Consequences", "Mesmer's Pencil", "Angel's Flight", "Zebras and The Magic Square", and "The Human Movie Projector" were all instant winners with me and made each disc a must-have.
One last thing to comment on before we move on to something else: the instruction here. I don't know who thought of this angle, but I'm thrilled they did. Here's how a lot of the more involved effects are taught: first, Richardson comes out and does what amounts to a summary of the handling which is done quickly and is clearly supposed to be a "Cliff Notes" version of the effect, then Richardson sits down with Michael Weber and they go in deep, covering all the audience touches, the subtleties, the things that really make the effect sing as well as other plot points and, yes, even different methods.
This is an absolutely wonderful idea. When I get lost on a handling, I can just go look up the "quick version" and refresh my sagging memory; at the same time, I'm introduced to all the ins-and-outs that win audiences over so well. Big thumbs up for that!
Magic and Mentalism of Barrie Richardson, Volumes 1,2, and 3" DVDs
Quality of Production:
Quality of Instruction:
Available direct from your favorite dealer. Dealers, please contact Murphy's Magic Supplies, Inc. toll-free at 1-800-853-7403 or visit Murphy's Magic Supplies website.
All content ©2008 The Visions Group. All Rights Reserved. Any duplication without expressed written permission is strictly prohibited.
The views expressed are solely those of the contributors and may not necessarily be those of TVG, its clients, sponsors, or affiliates.