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Card fans especially will be aware of Iain Moran’s skills as a card magician. He’s technically skilled of course, very knowledgeable and with an unassuming style and gentle charm that catches you off guard.
Zen Magic is a blockbuster collection of mostly card material with two of his signature coin routines as well. There are eight powerful card routines suited to the intermediate level magician and beyond, which are also practical for real world performing.
One to one performances of all the card material are shown with various spectators including Liam Montier who also sits in on the explanations. The coin routines are performed straight to camera. There is no padding and every item is something you immediately want to try out. Having said that, I’m sure everyone will have their favourites so here are the standout items for me.
Iain’s card to pocket is a variation on Little Carlisle by Lance Peirce, itself a nod to Francis Carlisle’s classic Homing Card, but there is no palming and it’s impossible to reconstruct. A signed card vanishes from between the four Kings again and again before ending with the Williamson 51 cards to pocket killer finish. All the best bits of the card to pocket without too much strain or stress.
Prime Importance is based on Aldo Colombini’s Paramount, a visual shocker where a blank card prints into a selection first on the back, then front and finally the spectator’s signature, a nice build to the stunning finish!
Fifty Some is a double whammy that you can build into any card box. A chosen card vanishes from the deck and appears inside the box, and then a prediction suddenly appears on the case which wasn’t there before – and it’s examinable! A perfect workable workhorse routine for the strolling professional.
Picking Pockets is Iain’s practical version of the Interchange plot. Four Jacks, isolated in four different pockets, slowly and cleanly change places with four signed Aces, which are then removed from the same pockets the Jacks were in! Iain has made this routine easily within the grasp of an intermediate card magician removing the knuckle busting manoeuvres often associated with this type of effect! There’s a gaffed and non-gaffed version as well, and the highlight of the DVD for me.
The remaining four card effects are all top drawer and include two sandwich style effects, one of which has a brain melting ending, a Do As I Do plot and a coincidence style trick where the promised explanation leaves the spectator more baffled than before.
The two coin routines are both relentlessly eyepopping and use a gaffed coin in the working. The first is the production and vanish of three coins jumping back to the pocket. The second is similar with more of a Three Fly type of plot. Both will leave spectators reeling and jaws dropping but will probably take a lot of work to learn.
Finally, Iain gives detailed instruction on some of the sleights which crop up in most of the routines including Marlo’s Convincing Control, JK Hartman’s RS Bluff Control, the Underspread Force, the Gary Kurtz Slip Cut force variation and Ackerman Varies Kelly, all very approachable sleights and great additions to your arsenal if they aren’t there already.
Liam Montier hosts the explanations which are all clear and easy to understand although they can be a bit swift at times. It’s rare to like everything on a DVD and I hesitate to say this but every one’s a winner. If you like your card magic strong, magical and stunning for real world audiences, this is the perfect collection for you.
Review by Paul Preager. Originally published in Magicseen Magazine, issue 90