Review: Only Slightly Sleighty by Ryan Schlutz

Reviewer: John Teo

Ryan Schlutz’s main thrust in his card magic is to make it appear as if the spectators make all the choices.  And when the magic happens even without the magician apparently being in control, the spectators’ belief is being suspended – they are now unsure if they are the ones who actually caused the impossible to become possible.  As an example, if the magician were to find the chosen card that was hopelessly lost in the deck, it would be because the spectators unwittingly led him to the exact location in the deck, and yet the spectators would be none the wiser!

Ryan Schlutz is known to create devastating card magic with little skill involved.  Although the title of this volume is “Only Slightly Sleighty”, there are hardly any difficult sleight-of-hand with cards at all.  If there are any card “moves” required, there is nothing that the average card magician cannot manage.  Instead, Ryan resorts to clever mathematical techniques, some cards set-up, and a special pencil-dotted and edge-marked card to help him control cards while they are being shuffled by the spectators.

In this DVD, it is a lesson in itself to watch Ryan performing before a live audience and how he uses his chatty, fun-loving and nonchalant character to misdirect and control them.  Very often, you will find that he actually tells the spectators what to do with the cards, yet the spectators feel they are the ones making all the decisions!

The DVD is well produced with easy-to-maneuver menu.  Ryan teaches 7 awesome card magic.  In brief, they are:

Future Card – spectator selects any card as a prediction (future) card.  A deck is shuffled and separated into halves.  Both the spectator and the performer select a card from the other person’s half deck.  One card forms the value and the other forms the suit.  Together, they make up the exact identity of the future card.

Shuffles Therapy – spectator freely selects a card and then loses it in the deck.  Despite the deck being thoroughly shuffled, the performer not only divines the identity of the chosen card, but also locates it.  A straight forward card revelation that has been dressed up to become an unexplainable mind reading and mind controlling effect.

Long Way Out – this involves 2 spectators and the performer.  A spectator chooses 3 cards which are set aside.  The remainder of the deck is shuffled and dealt into 3 piles, one for each of the 2 spectators and the performer.  Each of them further deals their pile into 3 packets.  The top cards of each of their packets are turned over.  Each of them has a different 3-of-a-kind, eg the first spectator has 3 queens, the performer the 3 two’s and the second spectator the 3 ten’s.  The 3 cards set aside earlier are turned over – they are found to be the fourth queen, two and the ten!  Coincidences galore!

Any Card Any Sum – a spectator freely selects a card and loses it in the deck.  Another spectator chooses any 8 cards.  She mixes them up face-up and face-down.  She adds up those cards that are face up.  The freely arrived at total is used to count down to a card in the shuffled deck.  That card is shown to be the chosen card of the first spectator!  A clever use of the CATO mixing principle.

Magic Camp – this involves 2 spectators and the performer.  A shuffled deck is freely divided into thirds, one for each person.  Each chooses a card from his or her own pile and secretly writes its identity on a note sheet, and signs his or her name on it.  The 3 selected cards ((still facing downwards) are exchanged with each other.  It is then buried in the person’s pile.  The piles change hands.  Each deals down 5 random cards.  With some mixing of the cards, the middle card of each person is turned face downwards.  When each of them is turned face upwards, they coincide with the corresponding 3 cards written earlier by each of them.  This is a very good example of how the performer can control almost the entire deck even though the individual piles are being exchanged and shuffled.  It also makes use of a new card separation principle.

Combined – similar in effect to “Any Card Any Sum” but uses 5 cards with numbers printed on both sides instead of 8 playing cards.  It does not use the CATO principle but another interesting mathematical principle.

We Do As We Do – an ultimate version of the classic “Do As I Do” effect, in which the spectator appears to make all the decisions, and the performer simply follows.  They each find the other person’s chosen card.

In the bonus section, Ryan answers the most frequently asked questions on how to pencil dot and edge mark the key card.

You will find a couple of techniques used, especially those involving mathematical principles that you adapt to your own card effects.  If you like card magic, you will want to add at least a couple of the 7 effects to your performing repertoire.

Please support intellectual property. Only buy original. Available from all reputable Murphy’s Magic dealers.

10 Stars (10 / 10)

Only Slightly Sleighty by Ryan Schlutz

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