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by Wayne Dobson
"Devastation", an effect by Wayne Dobson, is one of those sleepers that magicians instantly are bored by but leaves spectators bewildered and entertained, easily living up to its name.
But then this shouldn't be surprising since "Devastation" is built on a couple of great themes anyway: the "All Back" plot and the card-to-wallet. If one can tie them together logically, in some way, then there's power in the result.
Enter Wayne Dobson, and his "Devastation":
Explaining that he had a strange dream last night, the performer brings out a a deck of cards that is shown to consist of misprinted cards, with backs printed on both sides. In this dream, the spectator had named a card, which they do in real life, naturally. Two of the misprinted cards are removed from the deck -- "the Jokers" -- and placed in the wallet and set aside. The deck is then spread out on the table, showing both sides are backs once more. The deck is flipped over and all the cards now have faces; the deck has become a regular deck and more: they run in value order by suit (Ace through King of Clubs, then Ace through King of Diamonds, etc.). However, when the deck is spread, one card is missing: the spectator's card. The wallet is opened and the Jokers -- now really Jokers -- are removed and in the wallet is found another card: it's the named card.
I know, I know... big bore. Yawn. Been there done that... whatever derogatory ideas have floated into your head as you read that. But the fact is that a good "All Backs" routine makes a powerful, fun opener (I've been doing Frank Garcia's version for years) and there's few effects as reliably powerful in close-up magic as the card-to-wallet effect. And Dobson's combination here works very well and packs a punch.
As to the working, it's extremely easy. There's no palming, no forcing, and no difficult sleights involved (there is one move that will take some practice, though -- you'll know it when you get to it). The gaffs, gimmicks, and handling do it all quite simply. The only real concern you have here is a deck which, though normal, needs to be in new-deck order and therefore might as well be thought of as a trick deck when it comes to carrying it around. You'll also want to have some table space, too, for the deck displays, especially the final one.
Really, I'm more impressed with this one that I thought I would be. I liked the idea of combining the two themes, and Dobson has done his usual splendid arrangement when it comes to the routine, wringing as much as he can from his work.
And it shows in the performance. Spectators -- regular folks -- seem to be solidly struck by this one, from the initial display of the weird deck to the revelation of the named card. That's the least any of us can ask from an effect, and "Devastation" delivers that entertainment, that magic, very well.
Let's call this one recommended for those looking for a good, reliable worker of a routine.
by Wayne Dobson
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