Once Upon a Time
Reviewed by Anthony Owen
It seems wholly appropriate that to review the latest effect from Guy Hollingworth, I tell you a story...
Some time ago, I was dining at a restaurant with Guy and a few other magician friends. After the meal, he asked if we would mind if he showed us, "something I've been working on."
From a small case, he removed an old book not much bigger than a pack of cards. "This is a very magical book," he explained, "and unlike any book you have ever seen before. You see, this is a magic book of fairy tales and there is no need to read the words as the tales tell themselves. All you have to do to hear the tales is to believe in magic, and the rest will happen on its own."
"All the pages come right out of the book," he explained, as he removed the cover and set it aside, "and even if they are mixed up the magic still works and the stories tell themselves." We watched as he shuffled the pages until the words 'Jack and the Beanstalk' appeared on the first page.
"Once Upon a Time", he began… and I was hooked!
As Guy told the familiar tale, I watched as brightly coloured beans grew into a beanstalk, I watched as the giant's goose laid a golden egg and I watched as several well known professional magicians were completely charmed and enchanted by the sheer magic of that little book.
Since then, the routine has evolved, improved and become a favourite part of Guy Hollingworth's personal repertoire. Now he has released the effect under the title, 'Once Upon a Time.'
Guy first thought of the idea when he became a godfather and wanted to perform some magic for his young goddaughter at family get-togethers. He has devised a very original way to bring the magic of children's fairy tales to life. But as I saw in that restaurant, 'Once Upon a Time' is certainly not only for the young. The clever combination of close-up magic and a magic story book has produced up to 30 minutes of material that is equally suitable for the young and the young at heart.
The magic book can in fact tell three stories, 'Jack and the Beanstalk,' 'The Three Bears,' and 'Cinderella.' In each story, as the pages are turned and mixed, the pictures literally (if not pictorially) come to life. Readers of Guy's best selling book 'Drawing Room Deceptions' will recall that he is also an accomplished artist. He has drawn on that talent (pun intended) to create each of the very detailed and colourful illustrations in the special book.
The book cover, slip case and 55 special pages are all manufactured to the same high standards as previous Hollingworth creations and the props are supplied with a comprehensive 44 page (A5) instruction booklet which includes over 100 photographs. But don't imagine that these effects are difficult to master as the routines have been designed to be extremely easy to perform. In fact (as the instructions explain) if you can do a double lift and tell a story, you can learn these tricks.
There is something about this magical story book that captures that sense of childhood wonder and enchantment that we all once felt… and that, after all, is what good magic should do.
© Anthony Owen, November 2001
Once Upon a Time is available from www.guy-hollingworth.com