A 2 DVD set by John Archer
Reviewed by Steve Evans
Further Education is the latest material compilation DVD from John Archer's working repertoire. The routines (for the uninitiated) feature comedy mentalism that John performs on stage but some (if not all) of the routines are adaptable for close-up. All are high on magical content as well as being funny. I would qualify this review by saying that John is a close friend, although not that close as I didn't actually know he'd released a new DVD until I went in search of his Bank Night routine called "Blank Night" the trick that fooled Penn and Teller on the tele.
For those with very busy lives this 2 DVD set is more than value for money - go buy it. For those with less busy diaries (or personal interest in this project) I will continue. Disc 1 is the live performance of the material that is explained on Disc 2. There are eight routines, 6 are fully explained with the other two being discussed in detail but the methods are not divulged because they feature commercially available props. In additional (as a bonus) there are three close-up effects that are all fully explained. All of this material John works in the real world meaning in effect he is tipping a large chunk of his commercial act.
As the title suggests this is a follow on from John's previous DVD Educating Archer with one of the routines being a large venue presentation of a routine featured in the earlier DVD. This gives you the working of an envelope that does the job of the previously used wallet which some had said they were having problems finding. For me the cost of the DVD's is more than covered by the inclusion of the Blank Night routine (with PDF included so you can make up the envelopes) and a DIY Add-it (number) pad that is genius in its simplicity.
John Archer fans will I'm sure be happy with his latest offering. A criticism by the neutral observer may be that overall the material isn't as strong as his previous DVD and the stage setting for the live performance is somewhat disappointing. But for me the material scores on quality over quantity and the stage setting is used by John for very good comic effect.
As a bonus John also includes his commercial close-up set. The three routines covered represent more commercial material then you would find on many DVD's dedicated to the subject. So I would recommend Archie's latest offering but it comes with a warning; you don't get to be as good as John Archer by simply watching his DVD but it's a very good place to start the journey.
Further Education by John Archer can be purchased from www.alakazam.co.uk - my copy arrived in 24 hours. There you will also find the props featured (but not explained) on the DVD and John's twist on the book test plot called Street's. This is performed (without explanation) on the DVD and is well worth a look.
© Steve Evans, January 2011