Reviewed by Oliver Tabor
Over the last few years, Oliver has become popularly known as a creative thinker with the publication of his two books the Plot Thickens and Plot Twists, his grey matter has been compared to the same brain mass and productive processes as Jay Sankey and Paul Harris.
'Drawn In' is his first released effect, it is essentially another book but is to be used alongside the invisible deck as an alternative presentation. The concept of the routine is a spectator reads the story out aloud and decides at the end of every page where the story proceeds by means of a multiple choice at the end of each passage, this process is inspired from the Choose Your Own Adventure Books popular with children.
The story starts from the readers perspective on a tour of a stately home or mansion, you are enticed away from the group by the central figure of the book, a mysterious short man dressed in a white suit with a cane that he likes to clang on various objects around the house in-between his narration. Oliver mentions that the performer can play this part either dressed up in the costume or just reading the part through the story. This character gives the reader the option at the end of each passage of first choosing the colour red or black, then choice of suit, number or court card and eventually the value of a playing card. All these decisions correspond with the narrative of the story, leaving the reader with the extremely fair choice of one card. On the last page of the story, as the last few paragraphs are read out, it describes one card reversed in a deck of cards which is turned over to reveal the selected card, the performer synchronises the motions with the Invisible deck revealing the matching card.
The story itself is a great spooky, scary and at times gory tale, it is written with great imagination and the reveal of a card is linked to a picture frame being reversed in the book which could be linked to a picture frame in a haunted house or as part of a set on stage. Having tried this on a few audiences, the best presentation I've found is to do it one to one with a spectator narrating the story whilst the performer reads the part of the mysterious guide. Oliver offers a few different presentation ideas in the back of the book, one is for stage with the participation of a volunteer from the audience. This would be good if you could find a willing person to read the story out in front of an audience, although I think it may be hard to find a suitable spectator who is comfortable with this and who is an engaging reader that will appeal and keep a listening audience entertained.
In my opinion the most effective presentation with this effect is for a ghost tour, Halloween show or for a private candle lit dinner party with guests who know each other. This way each page and decision could be read out by a different diner with less personal inhibition that would create a more interactive and fun experience.
The book is well printed with 131 pages, the last 10 contain the instructions and Oliver's thoughts on the different presentations that can be achieved.
If you're looking for a new routine for a spooky scenario such as the dinner party, ghost or Halloween show or an additional scary presentation for the invisible deck, then I can recommend this highly.
Drawn In (Book) by Oliver Meech £39.50 / $64
Paperback, 6" x 8.5", perfect bound with glossy cover, 132 pages.
Available at: http://www.lulu.com/shop/oliver-meech/drawn-in/paperback/product-18924276.html
© Oliver Tabor, September 2012