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Scott Cram
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Readers of the "Magical Equations" area should be greatly interested in Robert Neale's new topological video.

The video is done as a two-person discussion between Michael Weber and Robert Neale. The video alternates between the performances of the routines and the teaching and discussion of the secrets.

All the effects in here are of a topological nature. For those not familiar with topology, it's the division of mathematics that studies surfaces. The tricks are often shot from behind during the explanations, and in a video concerning sides, this helps a great deal.

The effects taught are:

The Arrow of Good Fortune - This is a three-dimensional structure that can point up or down. When rotated upside-down, however, it still points the same way.

The Trapdoor Card - This is likely to be the best known effect on the video, having been published in a booklet of the same name by Karl Fulves and in Michael Weber's "Lifesavers". A card is shown with a flap cut in it. The two different sides are shown and explained. The spectator holds the flap on one side and closes their eyes. When they re-open their eyes, they are now facing a different side of the card than when they started, despite holding on to the flap in the center the entire time. Robert Neale explains the principle and history very well, and shows many ingenious variations of the basic idea.

(K)not Magic - This is a unique twist on the classic G. W. Hunter knot. Instead of using rope, Neale uses string, and uses only the fingertips. This makes the knot much more baffling, even to those who know the classic version.

Whatsabox - In this routine, Neale shows a small box with a lid. He removes the lid, and takes out a small ball. Showing just the box, the box seems to have a bottom on both ends, and then a top on both ends. The ball is then placed in the box, and the top and bottom still switch places in many amazing ways! I can see this being done with a patter line along the lines of, "'Cups and Balls' is literally the oldest trick in magic. But in ancient times, they didn't play it like you see today...."

Borromean Rings - This is an interesting piece with three rings. I can't say they're linked, but each ring is set up so that it's above one ring, and under another. Despite their lack of linking, the three rings cannot come apart. Robert Neale then proposes to change the order of the rings, each time using more and more stringent conditions. The final phase is so baffling and so bizarre that, while Neale is able to perform it, even he is truly unable to understand WHY it works.

Inside the Beltway - This is Neale's take on the old "Pricking the Garter" (some of you may know it as "Fast and Loose"), using a borrowed belt. Neale's main contribution here is a method of knowing which loop will hold, even while using a borrowed object. There's a wonderful presentation in this effect that makes use of the natural "yin-yang" symbol that develops in the middle of the belt.

Brick Wall - This effect (as well as the aforementioned "Borromean Rings") has seen publication in Robert Neale's latest book, "The Magic Mirror". The effect here talks about Houdini's "Walking Through a Brick Wall" effect. Robert Neale purpotedly shows how the brick wall was built, and how solid the wall is (this is demonstrated with two pieces of card to represent the two parts of the wall). The pieces are then flipped over to the back, but somehow, there's now a hole. How can a hole be on one side, and yet not on the other? This piece is shown in both a 2-dimensional AND a 3-dimensional version.

Bunny Bill - This is an origami dollar bill fold in which a top hat shape is shown. A quick squeeze on the hat, and a rabbit (part of the same bill) pops up from it! For those who've wanted to demonstrate this, but weren't able to understand the fold from the "Bunny Bill" booklet, or the "Folding Money Fooling" book, this video will prove to be a major help in making the fold. Neale even uses an oversized bill to make everything clearer.

Every now and again in this video, the camera cuts away when you wish it wouldn't, but everything is taught clearly enough, and emphasized properly enough, that learning any of these effects is not a problem.

This 2-hour video is highly recommended.
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I saw it and cannot say anything other than "Brilliant". Really a good video about a little known subject.
The simplest schoolboy now knows truths for which Archimedes would have given his life...
Nir Dahan
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It is a different type of magic video. Don’t expect any "flashy" stuff or special "moves".

The effects on the video can be categorized more on the puzzle side rather than magic. Some of the effects really make you raise an eyebrow and say, "huh?"

I loved it.
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