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Raymond Singson
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Peter Turner: The Devil in Disguise Limited Edition DVD Set

I was introduced to Peter Turner’s unique approach to mentalism earlier this year when a friend referred me to his Penguin Live Lecture. That lecture was personally one of the most insightful, perception-changing experiences of my entire 18+ years in magic. In my eyes, what makes Peter Turner stand out among the crowd is that he structures his performance of mentalism to not only be entertaining and provocative… but meaningful, important, and genuinely relevant. I studied the Penguin Live Lecture for months, and when I heard his first DVD project was going to be released this year, I immediately knew it would be a worthwhile investment.

I’ll admit it. I’m another Peter Turner fanboy. But it’s hard not to be.

I’ll do my best to afford others a review of the set’s contents…

Getting to Know You: The first effect explained on the DVD was-- in essence-- a spot-on, fool-proof character reading. An audience member merely thinks of any playing card, and the mentalist not only manages to divine the thought-of card, but also reveal intricate details about the spectator’s personality, memories, and future decisions. Methodically, the secret of this effect is dead simple. However, Peter appreciates subtlety in performance and outlines several principles that genuinely enhance this effect to so much more than a trivial card revelation. Such principles such as the “confirmation principle,” “pigeon-holing,” or “reframing” can be seamlessly applied to numerous other effects in magic to provide personal meaning to the material others perform. Peter actually demonstrates this throughout the entire DVD set. He’ll often use the same principles and theories throughout other performance pieces just to illustrate how versatile and practical they are.

When you realize how much thought went into scripting every word to evoke some kind of response from people with this first piece alone, it’s hard not to think that Peter is actually an alien in human skin and he’s just observing how we all interact with each other…

This is a unique DVD set in that you’re not necessarily paying for the effects at face value (although, if you were—I’d argue you’d still get your money’s worth). You’re paying for a range of practical ideas, exercises, responses, and principles that actually work in practice. Professional workers would be hard-pressed not to find something in this set that would enhance their current work ten-fold.

I, for one, fully intend on starting a cult someday.

My Take on a Classic: As seen on the trailer for The Devil in Disguise, this is Peter Turner’s take on the Book Test. Again, I believe this clearly illustrates what makes Peter so different from the “typical” performer, in that he doesn’t just settle for the trivial revelation of a word from a meaningless book. He takes it so much further than that. In this performance, he subtly dismisses the book altogether and instead reveals very specific, intricate details about a spectator’s memory from her childhood. The reading gets so personal, in fact, that he must whisper particularly intimate details into her ear to finish the performance. This is F#(%ing brilliant. This highlights his fantastic Bob Principle, which I will definitely pepper into my own work. On top of that, this is as close as one can get to genuinely planting memories in people’s minds. What I really enjoy about this piece is that it isn’t a one-dimensional performance. The mentalist cannot perform AT the spectator in this case like other more traditional book tests. In actuality, in order for this to play out, the performer and spectator must develop and exercise a rapport, dialogue, and “dance” with one another. The mentalist must give as much information as he receives. And Peter effectively arms you with all the tools to manage and control a person like that. Just watch and analyze the demo again; what you see is what you get, and it obviously hits really hard.

This is such a great piece. When you realize how it works, you can’t help but appreciate its artistic structure. It’s so, so strong.

Credit Card #1: In effect, this is a really cheeky, impromptu method to divine a spectator’s credit card pin number. No billets, no pre-show, nothing written down. Again, the value of this effect is in the scripting, structure and performance that Peter shares. The highlight of this script would be his utilization of the “Painting it Red” principle to logically explain how he reads minds without explaining anything at all. That sounds non-sensical, but performers like Derren Brown and Keith Barry have utilized this principle to much success in their own work. Something worth noting about Credit Card #1 is that it’s only designed for UK residents with a specific bank card. US residents will still find usable value in the performance of the effect, but as far is the specific methodology to accomplish the effect, they’ll have to use Credit Card #2 later in the DVD, which is just as cheeky as it is mind-blowing.

If I lived in the UK, I would be so bold as to try this over the phone with a friend…

Isabella’s Star: This prop-less birth-date revelation was afforded with the Penguin Live Lecture and demonstrated in the Portugal Notes trailer. I admittedly do want to incorporate this piece into my own work, but the specific mental acrobatics are currently above my capability at the moment. I’ve no idea how to ‘practice’ this at all, and I wish Peter went into more detail about that particular factor. I’ll continue working through it, as it is an extremely personal, hard-hitting effect. The mentalist can basically walk up to any stranger on the street and gradually determine their birth-date and predict their zodiac sign. What I love about this piece is Peter’s presentation for it. I believe his passion for storytelling really comes through in this piece. It’s a great showcase of how much value there are in the words we speak and how an engaging presentation enhances the overall impact of an effect. The DVD includes a PDF of Isabella’s Star to walk through the effect in intricate detail.

It’s pieces like Isabella’s Star that makes me wish I naturally spoke like a book of poems. Peter definitely has that going for him.

Credit Card #2: Essentially the same effect as Credit Card #1, where the performer divines a spectator’s pin number. This version of the effect is just as hands-off and as impossible-looking as the “original” method seen earlier in the DVD but is more universal as American performers such as myself can actually employ it. In fact, I’d say this is a highlight of the DVD as I can see myself performing it regularly. I love how it doesn’t require any props at all and so long as someone has a credit card available, the performer will always be ready to perform something mind-shattering. Again, Peter shares a multitude of different principles and otherwise “throw-away items” that really build a memorable experience when they’re scripted and layered together the way Peter demonstrates they should be.

I’ll definitely use this. Often.

Handling Hecklers: I was really looking forward to hearing what Peter had to say about hecklers, as he’s explained that he performs in venues like the ones I often find myself: casual, noisy pubs filled with loud ambience and inebriated patrons. His advice catered to more formal settings, but I still appreciated the mentality he offered. He presents two practical methods of dealing with spectators: one, almost inexplicable way that literally brings them into the show and makes them a memorable highlight of the show’s events-- and another more tactless, albeit more entertaining (and personally satisfying) way to deal with a genuine pain in the ***. The real gold of his advice was the principle of deflecting attention unto the heckler so that the rest of the audience literally works for the performer when it’s most convenient.

It was this part of the DVD that made me think that having a pint (or ten) with Peter would be an epic time. He suggests charmlingly cursing out a heckler while simultaneously making an applause cue… that’s just awesome.

The Broken Heart Out: This was presented as a throwaway, almost filler item on the DVD, but with some careful thought, I can see how it could be a useful way to reveal information in the appropriate situation. In effect, while trying to determine a person’s thoughts, the mind-reader changes his mind, rips up the note he was writing on a business card and puts it away. He finally commits to a thought and writes a word down on another business card. The spectator reveals she was thinking of a friend named Molly, for example. The performer kicks himself for changing his mind, and reveals that he wrote Molly on the card he tore up and put away. It’s a versatile out that creatively (and subtly) disproves traditional methods such as nail-writing and pocket writing.

I personally have to give this more thought, but I do see worthwhile possibility with this idea…

Creating Psy-Forces: Those familiar with Banachek’s Psychological Subtleties would appreciate seeing such ideas effectively put to actual practice. Not only does Peter go over some of his favorite psychological forces, he actually teaches how to customize them into your own work. It was a fun “workshop” portion of the DVD where he illustrates how to use psy-forces in an obvious jazz session with the members of the audience. My only gripe… is that he says “New Jersey” would be considered America’s City of Brotherly Love. And as a man from Philly… that obviously irked me a bit. Ha. There’s not much else a Pennsylvanian hates much more than someone from Jersey, but I digress… This was a great section, and I do plan on using some of the ideas in my own performances. The highlight of this section was when Peter had a member of the audience think of one of five objects of the table. He had the member freely change his mind four times, and STILL managed to determine which object the spectator ultimately landed on. Fried me too, as I was playing along with what I felt were free decisions. Some would say Peter Turner gambles entirely too much with luck… I’d agree, but I’d also buy into the notion that it’s worth doing if creating a miracle is possible should luck fall in my favor.

But seriously, watching Peter perform among a group of mentalists and frying me as I watched the footage confirms my prior suspicions. He’s obviously an alien. A telepathic alien.

CAAN: Peter demonstrates a slight variation of the ACAAN he performed in the Penguin Live lecture. I honestly wasn’t too fond of this particular version, but I imagine it still would play strongly among a group in a formal setting. In effect, someone randomly thinks of a card and freely changes his mind. The performer still manages to determine the mental selection. The spectator then chooses any number from one to 52, no force or limitations at all, and the mental selection is found at that position in a deck of cards. Personally, I would prefer the methodology found in the Penguin Live Lecture, because although both methods rely on dual reality, I don’t believe this particular version offers as much ‘payback’ to the individual spectator making all the decisions.

Interview: The DVD includes a long, in-depth interview between Colin McLeod and Peter Turner to discuss the topics, methods, and presentations taught throughout the DVD. I initially thought this was going to be filler material, but the discussion raises some worthwhile topics and elaborates more on some of the more intangible lessons throughout the DVD. The interview takes place in what appears to be a pub, so everything is laid back and casual, and it looks and feels like you’re simply sitting in on two artists talking shop about their craft. I enjoyed it a lot.

Overall, I would say the Devil in Disguise is a worthwhile investment. The content of this DVD set can build religions. Frankly, just look at Peter’s fanbase here on the Magic Café. Magicians and mentalists are praising his work, because he used these methods to make an undeniably powerful experience for them. This material speaks louder than the majority of mentalism currently released to the market.

However, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the flaws of the DVD set. I believe that the demo/trailer was slightly misleading in that I assumed more live performances would be featured. In fact, the demo IS the only live performance on the entire 3.5-hour DVD set. The rest of it is filmed in what appears to be a beige office conference room, lecture style among other mentalists. The majority of the footage appears to be filmed with one stationary camera head on Peter with no audio equipment. Frankly, it disappointingly looks like an amateur attempt at the Penguin Live lecture, and it makes it excruciatingly boring to watch. The content of the DVD more than makes up for this shortfall, but the lack of attention to production value is distracting by today’s standards. It’s also somewhat annoying since the pricetag for this feature is currently as high as $700.00 on eBay. In my opinion, a more established production company like Alakazam would have done Peter’s work justice from an artistic perspective, but perhaps keeping this off the mainstream shelves was a wiser move. In any case, I would have preferred to see Peter perform in a variety of different settings ranging from mingling during cocktail hour to performing a more formal parlor venue. After each performance of an effect, have a “controlled” performance for another mentalist in a studio setting and then conduct explanation/lecture in a round-table discussion among other performers. I believe that format along with some effective lighting and audio would facilitate learning much more than the current layout of having a tripod camera fixed on Peter rolling through his table of contents on an easel. It was arguably a disservice to Peter’s fabulous thinking-- akin to a metaphorical prime rib served on a dirty garbage can lid. If one can overlook the (lack of) production value in this DVD set, they’ll be treated to an Ivy League education, filled with valuable information in terms of showmanship, audience management, and social manipulation to produce authentic-looking mind reading and high-impact personal experiences.

This is a Limited Edition DVD set with only 250 copies made commercially available. With that, there’s obviously a hefty price-tag attached to it. At The Magic Box, it originally retailed for approximately $260.00, and now that it’s currently sold out—copies are going for more than $700.00 on eBay and other auction sites. I managed to win a copy for $375. Although the inordinately high price will turn away the majority of potential consumers, I think this is a product that requires exclusivity. This is material that needs to be thoroughly studied and gradually implemented into structured, scripted performance pieces in order to retain its meaning, relevance, and power. Peter Turner’s managed to become one of the few performers in the industry that’s made mentalism “important” again. I think that’s priceless. This is a DVD set that honestly deserves an air of exclusivity.

And I have a copy. So nanny nanny poo poo.

If you come across this set and have your reservations about purchasing it... I would argue that you should put those reservations aside and take the leap. The knowledge in this set is just as valuable as the information in Derren Brown's Pure Effect, Absolute Magic, and Devil's Picturebook combined. Content-wise, this is a DVD set worth having.

Hope this was worth the read.

RS.
“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.” -- James Arthur Baldwin



raymond.singson@gmail.com
Magical Dimensions
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Nice review....
I didn't find out about this DVD until they were sold completely out. Darn it.



Best
Ray
Raymond Singson
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Ray, I was able to purchase a copy for $375.00 on eBay; it's worth keeping an eye open on the auction sites. I'll also occasionally see a member selling their copy on here for relatively "affordable" asking prices.

If you haven't already, check out the Penguin Live lecture. In my opinion, it's significantly under-priced for what you get. The production value far surpasses what you get on Devil in Disguise. And in fact, although Peter details different material in Devil in Disguise, he covers many of the same concepts and principles informally discussed in the Penguin Live lecture. If you creatively apply them to other plots in magic and mentalism, you can develop a vague understanding of what's covered in The Devil in Disguise. It'll require more work on your part to study and experiment, but the Penguin Live Lecture is a really great, affordable resource for this type of direct mentalism.

RS.
“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.” -- James Arthur Baldwin



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Raymond Singson, thanks for the review! If I could afford it, I;d grab it. Peter Turner has been a breath of fresh air to the community. He lives up to the hype surrounding him!
brehaut
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I have this and won't ever sell it.
Magical Dimensions
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Quote:
On 2013-09-19 15:00, brehaut wrote:
I have this and won't ever sell it.




And I am NOW waiting for my copy to arrived!




Ray
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If anyone is interested, I have a copy of this for sale - marked as number 15 and signed by Peter Turner. This IS as good as you hope it will be. Please PM me if interested.
http://www.underground-collective.com - check out our new DVD now!
brehaut
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Quote:
On Feb 5, 2014, jbadman wrote:
If anyone is interested, I have a copy of this for sale - marked as number 15 and signed by Peter Turner. This IS as good as you hope it will be. Please PM me if interested.


Someone should jump on this. These are hard to find. You could watch this everyday for months and continue to learn
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I have one for sale...
Pm me
Brainbu$ter
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There's not much on here that Peter doesn't cover in other videos or books. Freeform Mentalism, Peter Turner Live Lecture, and Devil in Disguise have A LOT of overlap.

For the Isabella's Star effect, Peter gets the astrological number in the least logical method I can think of. He tells the spectator to take out two playing cards that would correspond to their astrological number, then set them face down on the table! What? Why would you cheapen such an elegant effect by throwing in a deck of playing cards for no other reason than for the person to take out "their number," in cards, and lay them on the table. It makes no sense, and Peter can't be bothered to justify it.

It would make more sense to have them write down their Astrological #, then p__k it or CT it. But then, if you're already having them write it down, why not have them write down the birthdate? So I guess the reason Peter doesn't have them write it down is so that he can say, "Nothing was written down." But to achieve this, he introduces something even more suspect into the routine by throwing in a deck of cards and telling the spec to take out her number, in the form of playing cards.

If you're good with cards, then it will probably occur to you that there are better card methods than the ones Peter uses. Peter himself says (I think in Freeform Mentalism) that he's not good with cards. He also says (in Devil in Disguise) that he's partially blind, which means he has to use jumbo markings on his marked cards. For this reason, I can't figure out why he would choose to use playing cards in his mentalism, when many mentalists have misgivings even when they're very good with cards. For example, Gary Kurtz (aka Jas Jakutsch) shows in a video of his, spec thinks of a card, Gary fans the deck, and knows the card. It's a brilliant and invisible peek. And everyone knows Kurtz is very good with a deck of cards...but since he turned mentalist, he doesn't use cards anymore. So why would someone who already isn't good with cards USE cards in mentalism?
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Isabella's star has evolved and has been greatly improved since 'the devil in disguise'.

However, after reading your comments and how narrow minded they are, I really can't be bothered in explaining how or pointing you in the right direction.
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Look at FreeForm Mentalism.....Peter does Isabella Star cold, going up to a stranger and nailing the month and day.

I can now go out just like Pete and do the same thing, but it takes a lot of practice.

Anyway, anything Peter puts out is worth more than the asking price, because as he says its more about the connections you make with people and try to converse with them and change their life, whether you are just talking or are performing PDEs, not MDEs.

Thanks
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Quote:
On Mar 13, 2014, rasp wrote:


However, after reading your comments and how narrow minded they are, I really can't be bothered in explaining how or pointing you in the right direction.


My comments may be narrow-minded. After all, Peter says that mentalists often "over-think" things. At the same time, he often says, "That doesn't make any sense" when, say, a mentalist or magician tries too hard to prove his wallet is ordinary.

I'm simply stating what is obvious to me. As a mentalist, bringing out a deck of cards because you need to divine the spectator's 2 digit number DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. The deck just comes in out of the blue, and the spectator is told to find two cards in the deck which correspond to his astrological number, and set them on the table.
It's not organic.

That's like having a spec look up a word in the MOABT,
then write the word on an imp pad,
then watch the spec as if pencil reading the word,
then CT the paper without peeking.
THEN look at the impression.

If you're gonna bring in a marked deck and have the spectator place 2 cards down on the table corresponding to his/her astrological number, why not skip Isabella's Star altogether and have the spectator place 3 cards down on the table corresponding to the date their thinking of (which is the culmination of Isabella's Star)?
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Brainbuster, I completely agree with you and don't think you're being narrow minded at all! In fact, I don't have all the material written about Isabella's Star but have yet to see a method where something isn't written or a prop like cards are used. (I own star 1 & 2 and the penguin lecture. ) I tried posting in 2 separate forums to find out where to learn about the method Peter says he uses, t****t re****g, but to no avail.

I bet if you asked ANYONE which effect they'd prefer, the one where you use a prop or playing card(s) or the one where you tell them cold, the cold version would win. Smile

There are a couple of techniques that I gleaned from #2 that prompted me to come up with my own birthdate divination without anything written/spoken by the participant or any props. I'm combining some principles from that book (#2) with some other's that I know. However, they don't involve an astrological number.


Quote:
On Mar 13, 2014, BMWGuy wrote:
Look at FreeForm Mentalism.....Peter does Isabella Star cold, going up to a stranger and nailing the month and day.
I can now go out just like Pete and do the same thing, but it takes a lot of practice.


BMWGuy, if the Freeform video at penguin teaches this method where you can do it cold to a stranger, no props, I'll buy it instantly. I don't mind practicing for as long as it takes. Let me know.

Bobby
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Just wish to clarify something, I'm not saying that the effect can't play we'll using cards, it does, I've done it! However, given the choice I'd prefer a method that doesn't require anything written or any props, hence the reason for developing my own method. I am a little confused here because BMWGuy says Peter does it without cards on the Freeform video and Brainbuster says he uses cards! Can anyone confirm which it is? I would be totally interested in seeing Peter's work on it if it is indeed prop-less

Thanks
sandsjr
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Brainbuster, I completely agree with you and don't think you're being narrow minded at all! In fact, I don't have all the material written about Isabella's Star but have yet to see a method where something isn't written or a prop like cards are used. (I own star 1 & 2 and the penguin lecture. ) I tried posting in 2 separate forums to find out where to learn about the method Peter says he uses, t****t re****g, but to no avail.

I bet if you asked ANYONE which effect they'd prefer, the one where you use a prop or playing card(s) or the one where you tell them cold, the cold version would win. Smile

There are a couple of techniques that I gleaned from #2 that prompted me to come up with my own birthdate divination without anything written/spoken by the participant or any props. I'm combining some principles from that book (#2) with some other's that I know. However, they don't involve an astrological number.


Quote:
On Mar 13, 2014, BMWGuy wrote:
Look at FreeForm Mentalism.....Peter does Isabella Star cold, going up to a stranger and nailing the month and day.
I can now go out just like Pete and do the same thing, but it takes a lot of practice.


BMWGuy, if the Freeform video at penguin teaches this method where you can do it cold to a strange, no props, I'll buy it instantly. Let me know.

Bobby
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Brainbuster, I completely agree with you and don't think you're being narrow minded at all! In fact, I don't have all the material written about Isabella's Star but have yet to see a method where something isn't written or a prop like cards are used. (I own star 1 & 2 and the penguin lecture. ) I tried posting in 2 separate forums to find out where to learn about the method Peter says he uses, t****t re****g, but to no avail.

I bet if you asked ANYONE which effect they'd prefer, the one where you use a prop or playing card(s) or the one where you tell them cold, the cold version would win. Smile

There are a couple of techniques that I gleaned from #2 that prompted me to come up with my own birthdate divination without anything written/spoken by the participant or any props. I'm combining some principles from that book (#2) with some other's that I know. However, they don't involve an astrological number.


Quote:
On Mar 13, 2014, BMWGuy wrote:
Look at FreeForm Mentalism.....Peter does Isabella Star cold, going up to a stranger and nailing the month and day.
I can now go out just like Pete and do the same thing, but it takes a lot of practice.


BMWGuy, if the Freeform video at penguin teaches this method where you can do it cold to a strange, no props, I'll buy it instantly. Let me know.

Bobby
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Hi SandsJr,

In the Penguin FreeForm Mentalism, Peter does not use cards.

It takes a lot of practice to get it down smooth as Peter does it cold.

PM Me and I can give you more details.

Thanks

Alex
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sandsjr
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Hi Alex, thanks for responding! I PM'd you.

Bobby
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