Jamie Daws needs no introduction. His magic creations have been a staple material for magicians for quite some time, with international hits like Scared, Ping and The Gathering. Jamie was given an advance copy of To The Max by Kieron Johnson and put it through it’s paces. We are pleased to publish his full, no holds barred review:
The trailer shows the full magic trick, leaving nothing out. Similar to a can of Ronseal Wood Preserve, it does exactly what it says on the tin. The cameras are fixed which helps stop sea sickness unlike many magic DVDs. The footage is even better with Keirons unique nature. He makes it even more entertaining to watch.
The DVD is a no thrills, information packed example of how a magic DVD should be produced.
You have the gimmick shown to you, the use of the gimmick, and the To The Max ice production as well as learning the coin in ice trick. Everything is taught in depth and nothing is left out!
The holder is a curious little thing. When I first saw it, I genuinely thought: How is this supposed to do anything?. But in the nature of not being an ass, I thought I would give it a try before I judged it. More about that in a moment. You will need a couple of other items that I’m fairly certain you already have lying around your house, and if you don’t have them, you’ll be able to get them for a couple of pounds or dollars) at your local supermarket.
The setup of the holder is, well there is no set up! You just put the ice into it, pop it into your pocket and your done. I had the ice in the holder for at least 3 hours at a time and my pocket, whilst cold, was totally dry.
Now, to give a total and honest review, I took To The Max out and performed it throughout the day. I used several different ways to perform it to help you judge the quality and strength of the trick.
The holder does exactly what it says. My first impressions were totally wrong! It’s incredibly well made. If you’re not confident with it in your pocket, a simple piece of tissues, paper either side of it will 100% put your mind at ease about wet pockets. It’s very easy to use and not as invasive as I first though, which is great for magicians worried about pocket space.
So, whilst performing the trick, I tried several different methods, because there was one aspect of the performance which doesn’t personally suit my performance style. Without giving too much away, a certain move is used to bring the ice into play during the performance. Many magicians use the move often, but personally, I’m lazy and can never be bothered. That being said, I did try the Keirons performance of it.
The first way I performed To The Max was simply as an ice production. Ask the spectators to hold their hand out, show my hands empty and produce the ice. I did this without using the Keirons method of loading the ice: Suffice to say, this is a TERRIBLE idea! It bombed as it just didn’t work like that!
Secondly, I performed it with Keirons flash paper presentation, but not using his preferred loading method. Now, this is where the trick started to really work well.
You can tell Keiron has worked the effect the same way I have. He has obviously tried every possible scenario to come to this presentation. The reason? Because it just works so well.
It is such a simple idea, but it helps increase the strength of the final stage of the effect in the same way that an ambitious card routine builds in strength to ultimately make that end stage, the bit they remember. Equally, in a strange way, the psychology of what’s happening makes the final production just that bit more impressive. One of the guys I performed this on, couldn’t get the thought that I was just holding fire, and the ice COULDN’T of been there because of the fire. I suppose if I was a layman, I’d think of it the same way. The ice couldn’t be there because the fire would have melted it. Either way, this performance is great. However, not using Keirons loading method means your powers of misdirection need to be a little bit stronger. I’m fairly sure though, that every flash paper using magician knows the impact that small strip of paper has on an audience for the first time. Misdirection will be taken care of during the performance.
The last way I performed it was in its literal form. The way it was taught on the DVD. Using Keirons loading methods and although it will make you a little bit moist, (get your mind out of the gutter) it works so well. It takes a lot of the heat off you during the performance. It will take me a bit more time to get it flowing perfectly, but I think it will be worth it.
Now, I know what everyone getting this trick will be buying it for. The coin in ice effect. So how did this performance go? Well, to be totally honest with you, I didn’t go out and perform this version. At the beginning of the DVD, Keiron mentions this same fact. Most people will be buying it for the coin in ice, but Keiron prefers the production of the Ice Cube and thinks it’s much more effective. I shrugged this off and thought I’d much prefer the coin in ice.
My conclusion: I much prefer the To the Max Ice Production over the Coin in Ice effect!
Reason being? It’s such a beautifully simple and unique trick. There’s no need to over complicate it. The addition of the coin is unnecessary in my mind and although it might be cool to do it for that one special client every now and then, the original routine is perfect already. I’ve always had the belief that if I watch a magic demo and the first handling of the effect on the DVD has won me over, there is no need for alternative handling because it has already inspired you!
I think the magic trick is such a great and unusual performance piece. The surprising practicality of the trick means that it’s just as likely to be used in my close up set as a ring flight. As long as you are willing to embrace Keirons performance tips, there’s not much that can go wrong. That being said, trying different variations is also a great idea. For example, cutting three heart pips from a card, charring the edges with a lighter and freezing them into a block of ice. Then, with the card with the pips missing, char the edges of the cut out pip holes. Have the spectator select a card, lose it into the deck. The flash paper is brought out. The presentation begins and the ice is produced. The pips are noticed inside and when the deck of playing cards is checked, the pips have been burned out. A simple idea very similar to an effect in one of Ben William’s Repertoire books just mixed into To the Max. Again, To the Max is already a great trick and doesn’t really need this added element but it’s great to give you an idea of what else is possible.
To the Max is a fantastic professional magicians trick, which, if you perform in the right way, will not only get you the reactions you crave, but it will have people genuinely talking about you for a very long time. It is worth it, but you have to have faith and work it before you judge it!
Awesome job Keiron! I can’t wait to see what else we see from you!