The Step System DVDs Volume 1 & 2
Reviewed by Gary Jones
The Step System Vol 1
Ice Breaker....This is Lee's opener and what a strong piece of magic this is. Quick and slick magic which isn't one bit complicated in plot making it an ideal opener, this is also a great routine for the reception/ strolling situations. Ice Breaker will definitely establish the performer as someone who is not only an entertainer, but also as someone who performs really strong and visual magic. OK what is the effect....It's a 3 phase pick a card trick which builds with each phase, each phase getting stronger and stronger. A card is selected and lost into the deck, the top card is shown not to be the spectator's, this is placed onto spectator's hand, another card is shown and held by the magician, a little magic and the card held by the magician changes to the one the spectator was holding.....The spectator turns their card over, yes it's the selection...! "Do it again" is the phrase which most people would say at this point, so Lee does, but this time visually. In phase two the spectators actually see the card visually change this time. One more phase, this time involving more spectators, bringing this quick paced and snappy routine to a brilliant climax.
The explanation for Ice Breaker really goes into depth as to why this is such a strong opener for Lee, and also why the moves involved are used . This in-depth discussion is chaired by the very talented magician/hypnotist Ravi Mayar, both Ravi and Lee really break down the routine making every move extremely easy to learn. Ravi and Lee also go into great detail about approaching groups/tables, this advice for some will be worth the price of the DVD, especially for the beginner or the magician wanting to turn professional or break into the restaurant market.
Walkaround 2 Cards to Pocket......This effect is rubbish and should not have been included on this DVD. PLEASE UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT DO THIS ROUTINE. OK, this is brilliant and worth gold to any worker!! This is one of those effects that really is easy to do, simple in plot yet this effect kicks like a mule. This has become one of my favourite effects to do in walk around. Once again Ravi and Lee do a great job on explaining this astounding routine (plus a brilliant variation I may add). As an added bonus you get to learn Lee's handling for great card expert, Ollie Mealing's 'Switch Trick', once again if you don't know this then this will be worth the asking price alone!
Bold Business, performance only.......This is a great walk-about drawing duplication effect using your business cards, this really is cheeky and as the title says, very bold. I just love this sort of stuff, easy to do and such a strong effect. The effect isn't explained on the DVD, but a full explanation is contained in Lee's lecture notes which come free with the DVD.
Trans-box-ition.........This is Lee's handling of the popular plot of card and deck under card box. This is the type of routine I myself have been playing around with for many years now, I was around when Steve Bedwell came up with his routine many years ago, also James Brown has some excellent work on this plot. I would have to say that Lee's version here is probably the easiest of all the versions out there, both in the moves involved and the built in misdirection. In Lee's version two cards are selected, for me this is a great improvement as it makes the climax so much easier and much more logical. If you're thinking about adding a card under box type routine to your act then look no further, this is easy to do and has excellent built in misdirection. Check out the bonus effect with a signed card, clever!
You Keep Mine.......This is very very strong (as are all of Lee's effects). The magician has a card selected and signed, this card is placed face up onto the table, a prediction card is now removed from the pocket and is seen to be the mate of the selection. There's more.....The prediction card is also shown to have a different coloured back design and also contains the magician's contact details, these now jump off the prediction card and onto the signed selection, which by the way the spectator gets to keep. This is another routine I use and is great for getting your (or a corporate clients) contact details out there!!
Third Degree........Three cards are selected (one thought of), what follows is pure eye candy. Two selections are found and change places, the spectator who has been holding a card from the beginning is asked to name the card they were thinking of, you guessed it, when they turn the card over it's the thought of card. Excellent routining and some great visuals are going on in this routine.
The Step System Vol 2
Just Think......This is a lovely two phase thought of card routine with a cracking kicker ending. As with all of Lee's effects this is really easy to do only requiring standard card sleights. You get a lot of magic for very little work. Once again Ravi and Lee go really into great detail of all the moves and why Lee selected these particular sleights etc.
Business Lunch......Once again Lee has come up with another excellent routine to hand out your business card. A card is selected and lost, the magician now tries to find the selection, shows a card which is wrong, writes the name of the wrong card on his business card which the spectator signs. Now for the magic, first the wrong card changes to the selection, then the wrong card written on the signed business card also changes to the selection. Everything is now examined and the spectator gets to keep your business card. Lee gets some great reactions from the live audience with this, as he does with all of his effects on these DVDs. Easy to do and extremely commercial.
Key to Amazement......A completely self working trick which Ravi cracks up laughing during the explanation lol! I don't normally like this type of magic but I do like the cleverness of these type effects, this effect though is one I may actually try while down the pub with friends. Clever.
Crazy Cuffs......This is Lee's presentation for Crazy Man's Handcuffs with a few added phases using a finger ring. This is a very tight routine which will play well one to one or at a large table.
Fifth Element.....This is Lee's take on Paul Harris' Whack Your Pack. What Lee adds here is the staging, there is great tension going on here as Lee shows the spectator the cards for him to whack his hand down when he/she the thought of card. There is some great audience management and staging going on here, the misdirection and subtleties are great. I'll be using this for sure.
Bonaces......I heard the story as to how this effect got it's name, if you ever meet Lee at a convention please ask him, very funny. This is a double sandwich effect with the added bonus of a 4 ace production along the way, finishing with a climax of the 2nd selection appearing between the aces in the spectator's hands. I really like this, Lee mentions that this is a recent creation, I can see this going into quite a few magicians repertoires.
Coming Together........Performance only. This is visually stunning and worth the price of the DVD. I'm not going to detail this effect, buy the DVD and try this, you won't regret it. The explanation for this stunning effect is on the free lecture notes which accompany this set.
Strike Two......Pure eye candy, impromptu magic at its best. This is the first effect I saw Lee do when I first met him in London, this is also one of Lee's signature pieces. The logos from two disposable lighters continuously jump from each other, then they multiply, vanish, reappear plus loads more. Like I said this is pure eye candy all done with ordinary objects which can be purchased from just about any garage for less than £/$/€1. Excellent.
If you don't know, the Step in Step System stands for - Simple Tricks Extraordinary Power. This DVD set is an excellent collection of effects and advice for both the beginner in magic, to the more experienced magician. You WILL get something from this DVD set.
I really enjoyed watching these DVDs and I actually got quite a number of ideas/routines which I will and do use. Ravi Mayar really adds to this set, Ravi manages to ask Lee all those questions you would ask yourself if you were there at the filming.
Lee has a really friendly personality and you can see why he works exclusively for many of the top sports and TV celebrities here in the UK. Most of the routines are performed in front of a live audience and the reactions Lee gets are great, yet all the effects are really easy to do only requiring basic to intermediate card handling. There is also some great banter going on between Ravi and Lee, Ravi also adds some of his brilliant thinking to the explanations.
These DVDs were filmed by Russ Stevens so you know that the picture quality and the sound is top notch.
As mentioned above Lee's Walk About lecture notes come free with this great DVD set.
The Step System is available from www.rsvpmagic.com or directly from Lee Smith www.walkaboutmagic.com
9 out of 10 Highly recommended.
© Gary Jones, May 2010