Effect: Dead of Night
Artist: Andy Nyman
Producers: Alakazam Magic UK
Retail Price: $34.50 USD
Learning Difficulty: On the Easy side of Moderate.
Run Time: 22 min +/-
Notes: Apparently this product isn’t being offered on the Alakazam site any longer. Or if it is my product searches were not able to find it.
• Gaff Deck
Three spectators make three separate card selections, and each time the reveal is more impossible than the last.
With Andy’s new release up and coming from Theory11 I figured I’d go ahead and blow the dust off this review I’ve had sitting in my files for a while now. Dead of Night is Andy’s personal three phase card routine that is supposedly a “reputation maker”. This effect is being billed as “The most amazing 3 phase card routine you will ever perform. Simple and direct this is a genuine reputation maker” by Penguins website under product info, but I say this effect is a load of bollocks. That’s the British equivalent of saying this effect isn’t worth the price you pay for it. At nearly $35 bucks for a dvd, and deck of cards it’s obvious the bulk of that is being spent on the gaffed deck you get with the video.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Nyman’s work. He’s a wonderful performer, a talented actor, a funny comedian, and on top of all that couple of his other products, such as Diceman, and Killer Elite Pro, have been workers of mine now for a couple years. So when I saw something named “Dead of Night” come out by him with a cool looking skeletal Death’s hand holding a deck of cards against a midnight back drop this little Bizarrist got excited! Sadly, the art work is about all you get worked up over. I really don’t like it when you get a product that doesn’t even come close to delivering something close to what the name suggests, especially when the ad copy is as vague as “The most amazing 3 phase card routine you will ever perform. Simple and direct this is a genuine reputation maker.” Honestly the producers must know it’s a steaming pile of dog defecation when they resort to dirty publishing tricks like vague descriptions, and dark creepy names to ramp up the cool factor so they can take your money and run away laughing before you realize what has happened. Nyman does discuss the origins of why he chose to name the product as he did and it comes from an old horror movie that bore the same name. Apparently the movie had three stories to it so since his trick had three phases he felt that alone was enough to justify using the movie’s title to name his trick and since it’s originally a horror movie in comes running the horror themed deck. That’s like Penn & Teller billing their bloody saw the lady in half trick as a “children’s trick” because they wear a Barney the Dinosaur costume while doing it.
So with all that said let’s actually talk a little about what this effect is. This is a poor man’s version of Vernon’s “The Trick That Can’t Be Explained.”, but not as versatile in my opinion. You select three different spectators, and they in turn make three separate card selections. Employing different methods of spelling out things you come to their selected card every time. A point in Andy’s favor is that he has a lot of layers of subtlety built into the presentation, and the deck gaff that really help sells to the spectator that it’s a regular deck; all-be-it one that can never be examined by the audience.
Learning the effect doesn’t take too much time. This routine requires no sleight of hand, no memorization, and no skill mechanically. The success or failure of the trick will solely lie in the power of your presentation. The gaff deck practically does all the work for you, though I would advise following Andy’s advice and taking certain steps to further set up your deck like his. The additional preparations won’t take long, and will make more sense to you once you get this effect (should you want to). The effect is practical enough to perform. You could do it close up, but I think this plays better from a stage. The only thing about the deck I didn’t like is the theme the cards have. The cards are styled after Bicycle brand cards, but have a cheesy grim reaper theme to the back art. The effect is sufferable on its own but it could have done without the dark tones, and the Dead Of Night Poker 666 label on the card box.
At the end of the day what you have here is a commercially produced effect that was one of Nyman’s first tricks he invented. I think this effect does for Nyman what many effects do for Sankey; it works for him.
When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.
Product Quality: 3
This is overpriced for a gaff deck and DVD. The subtleties in the presentation are not enough to redeem the product’s misleading name and theme.
Teaching Quality: 7
The product is completely covered and additional instruction given to how Andy has his personal deck set up. Bonus points for the accent.
Video & Sound Quality: 4
The sound and video aren’t the best. I think this may have been filmed before the wide spread popularity of HD cameras. The video is grainy, and the sound appears to be from the camera itself so it’s not as clear as it could be if they were wearing a mic.
Overall Quality: 4
At the bare bones basics what you have is a simple strait forward three phase trick done with spelling out stuff with cards and no amount of window dressing is going to change that.