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Off" DVD by Patrick Redford
"Hands Off", Patrick Redford's take on the Any-Card-At-Any-Number plot, is going to take some work to put together, and the handling and two-deck solution may not be to everyone's taste, but this is a solid entry in the ACAAN field though it's value will probably be found more in the study of it than the performance.
Let's hit the effect before we get into details.
A spectator names any card (no force) and another spectator chooses any number from 1 to 52 (no force). The performer, almost tongue in cheek, asks if it would be amazing if that card were found at that number in the deck he's been fiddling with the whole time. Regardless of the answer, the performer says that, no, it wouldn't be all that amazing since something could have been done to the deck ("something sneaky"). What would be more amazing, it is agreed, is if that card were found at that number in a deck the performer hasn't touched and has been in full view the entire time. The deck the performer has been holding is put away and the other deck opened and dumped in the spectator's hands. The spectator now deals down to the chosen number and finds the named card at that position.
And that's exactly how it looks, too, except that it looks much smoother than I could ever explain in words. It's just a fine working and handling, period. Redford has truly come up with a solution that doesn't require a memorized stack (though he admits to using one) or complicated math work or -- to my mind, the biggest sin of most ACAANs -- some force of some kind. Redford has even thrown in a quick reset and a clean deck when it's all said and done.
However, all is not sunny skies and sparkly rainbows: "Hands Off" has some issues. Most of those issues will be of the "personal taste" variety. Some will not like having the two decks in play. Others will not like the pre-reveal work. A minority might take issue to the whole notion of this being called "Hands Off" when it's the performer fussing with cards and boxes.
But some issues are more tangible, and this is what harms "Hands Off" the most. The construction is pretty scary to contemplate (seeing it sent a shiver down my spine) and the first few attempts at putting this together will likely fail pretty badly (I should note here this is not Redford's fault; his instructions are flawless. There are just so many parts to this that it's unlikely to be made without error).. After a month of trying, I finally got everything put together nicely enough to take it for a spin. I can see a lot of consumers getting this one, taking one look at the needed assembling, and throw this one into the DVD equivalent of the sock drawer.
If you take the plunge and put "Hands Off" together, you then run into the other issues: practicality. With carrying what amounts to two decks and boxes which can't really be used for anything else, a lot of real estate is lost for a single effect. You'll also need a table of course, and, probably the worse part, you've got angle issues to deal with. That pretty much makes "Hands Off" a one-off or, probably better, a performance piece for a more formal close-up show.
It's at this point, I imagine, I should mention Redford's additional material on the disc: a stage version of "Hands Off" and an impromptu "card at named number" titled "Fantasie Impromptu". Both of these are nice additions to the disc and, in their own way, address some of the problems with the close up version. However, the close-up version is the gold here, even with its issues, so let's stay with it.
Or, more accurately, move beyond "Hands Off" for just a minute.
You see, I'm not really convinced that the ACAAN plot is all that entertaining a thing. I know magicians are captivated with it as a problem to be solved, but there is so much we can and do perform that causes a greater impact. Perhaps we, as adepts at this thing we call magic, get a bigger kick out of showing off the latest methodology that solves the "problem" than spending time on actually making ACAAN entertaining and magical.
To that end, Redford's work is a good tool for achieving the effect and, despite its drawbacks, it is very easy to do, which lets you concentrate on whatever presentation you think will make this more than just another quick card trick lacking the entertainment value of "Color Monte". Please, do so.
So, do I recommend "Hands Off"? Yes, I do, but with reservations.
This one I highly recommend to all fans of the ACAAN plot and those who are in the position to perform this regularly despite some drawbacks.
Off" by Patrick Redford
Quality of Production:
Quality of Instruction:
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