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CSB" DVD by Jeremy Pei
"Ultimate CSB", a DVD by Jeremy Pei, attempts to breathe some new life into the classic gimmick. Unfortunately, with some awkward handlings and suspicious moves, this is falls far short from being the ultimate though it does belong in the "interesting" range.
Here's the thing: Pei took a stab at moving the CSB gimmick past the usual, arguably one-dimensional transposition by using the gimmick in conjunction with other established themes and plots, notably transformations and teleportations. Sometimes these work pretty well, but most of the time, there's a moment where a distinct lack of smoothness raises its ugly head and greatly diminishes the look and feel of the routine.
Usually it's a hesitation here or there as some move is executed. Or it'll be two hands working to place a playing card over a group of coins in a matrix routine. Or it'll be an obvious reach into a supposedly empty hand before something happens.
Now, I'm sure Pei fries people with these routines; they are, in effect, good pieces of work. However, if your audience is the least bit critical, you're going to feel the heat and you're going to feel it fast. I'd spare you that.
Still, Pei's work here is far from worthless. His thinking is novel and, from time to time, inspiring. With some more polish here and there, these routines would knock any audience for a loop.
Take "CSB Interchange". This one is a complete flurry routine, with coins appearing one a time, changing back and forth from silver to copper and brass and back again, then disappearing one at a time. The hitch here? One of the changes looks very much like what it is and what it is ain't all that pretty here. Refine that a little bit and you've got a killer routine.
"CSB Transformation" is much better done. Essentially it's a repeating standard CSB transposition routine that ends up with a complete vanish at the end? Awkwardness? Hesitation? Sneaky stuff? Not a single one. This looks great; Pei earned his money here.
"CSB Fly" was the routine I was most interested in and, because of that, I'm most disappointed in. Too much hand-cover in this one in a couple of places weakened this one, although the ending looks nice and clean. I'm working on this one to make it more open, myself; with the ending it might just work.
"CSB Wild" is a one-at-a-time coin change, where a silver coin changes to match the other coins in the set, ending with all the coins turning into old silver coins. Again, not so smooth in spots, looking downright fishy in a couple of places. Work through that and this would be a great piece.
"CSB Subway Matrix" is a international-backfire-matrix, but at one stage you've got two hands placing a card over the coins, apparently "arranging" the coins under the card. Sorry, but that's pretty much the kiss of death with matrix routines. Figure out another way of doing this phase and this one would be worth the price of the disc.
"CSB Trio" is a two-card, three-coin matrix which really shows off Pei's cleverness. The coins travel from the hand to underneath the cards, one at a time, finally ending with one coin under each card and the third coin back in a coin wallet left on the table. Unfortunately, we're back to the "two-hands messing with a card" thing. In this routine it's not so damaging because it happens much quicker, but still it's a weak spot that should be shored up.
And those are my problems with "Ultimate CSB"; the material is so close to being the ultimate it wants to be but falls short. Yet, by falling short, it reveals some clever thinking that just needs to go to the next level to be worth the price of admission on this one.
So do I recommend "Ultimate CSB"? Only if you're up to the challenge of playing with these routines, flaws and all, and smoothing out the rough edges. If you are, then, yes, this disc will eventually reward you with some great routines that few others will be doing. If you're looking truly looking for the ultimate work with the CSB, you might be better off looking elsewhere.
CSB" DVD by Jeremy Pei
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