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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricks & Effects » » Contractor DVD by Russell Leeds (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Al Straker
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OK I am one of the early birds on this one and am happy to give an honest and thorough review.

We first saw Russell in Banding Around and my true thoughts are between Craig Petty and Russell, Wizard have really discovered some true talent! I thoroughly enjoyed the originality of Banding Around. While I don't believe every routine Craig and Russell are coming out with are "Tommy Wonder grade" poilshed pieces of entertainment, I do believe it is all workable and there is a great amout of creativity bursting out of both of these guys. They do deliver stong value for money products with certainly more than enough quality material to warrant exploration. Craig and Russell represent a youngish generation of English close up guys with with quite reasonable chops (in Craig's case I would say more than reasonable chops), admirable creativity and an obvious enthusiasm for their magic.

Some of the sequences Russell uses in Contractor are certainly not original to him and sure, from a competitive close up magic standards point of view there were a couple of slightly weak points in his performance. Part of this is undoubtedly caused by viewing the performance via a camera as opposed to live. I liked that a lot of the action was happening at eye level. Russell performs the routines very fluently, deliberately and with good clarity and pacing. It is also obvious from Russell's teaching of the effects that he has performed these a lot and given deep thought to how things should look. Russell also explains the subtleties applied in painting a more magical picture.

Contractor - Personally I didn't like the opening move of the routine but loved the rest of it! There was a good sense of empty hands during this routine as quite a few subtleties were used to great advantage. I thought there were ways to improve the psychology of the routine a little more still but I must say it really is a good piece of magic.

Sniper - This is quite a clear and well constructed piece. The best idea of this one is putting the coin on their finger, I really liked the way this problem was solved. I echo the applause of Garret Thomas 'Ring Thing' application to give a very nice visual moment.

Assassin - This was ok and had a couple of worthwhile sequences to play with but to be honest I didn't feel that this was quite of the calibre of the other two routines. The opening gambit was a good bit of psychology and I'm sure would play well. The routine was very visual but naturalness suffered in places. For anyone who is after some hot 'one coin' moves however this worth a look.

I have been doing Joel Given's karate coin for some time and will probably pass on some Russell's work here only because I am so familiar and comfortable with Joel's fine version. I would like to add an 'on their finger' sequence from Russell's work.

I certainly am keen to work on a variation of Contractor as I really like a lot of the sequences in it. Overall again I will comment that this product is good value and most enjoyable magic!

Al Straker
Resident Mystery Entertainer at Multiple Venues
Music & Mentalism Specialty Act 'Completely Mental'


(Old clip, show has changed quite a bit since then!)

Jazz & Contemporary Musician/Composer


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Thanks for the review Al, I'm glad you enjoyed the DVD. Here's the link for the trailer guys


Thanks Again,

Russell Leeds
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Inner circle
Rhode Island, USA
1311 Posts

Profile of Jared
I just received this yesterday and have been working on the first effect 'Contractor'. The moves are not very difficult and each action is motivated. So far, I'm very impressed with this DVD. My only complaint is that the mini coin is just way too small to work with. I've decided to use a penny instead along with the half dollar-sized penny from Gregory Wilson's 'Dishonest Abe' effect.

My only suggestion for improving this DVD would be to include a 'move' summary for practice similar to what L & L included with the Ammar ETM videos. This way, you could practice anytime/anywhere by just carrying around the quick reference sheet. Anyway, 'Contractor' is highly recommeneded!

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Hi Jared,

Glad you enjoyed the DVD, its now in Murphy's so should be available from your favourite dealer.

Russell Leeds
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