The Darkest Corners: My View

By Joshua Jay - Monday, April 6, 2020


My mind is still fixed on Ben Hart's lecture at this year's Blackpool convention: More than a thousand magicians were crammed into the Spanish Hall, watching Ben Hart make his lecture debut at Blackpool. He commanded the stage with ease, and performed several of the highlights from The Darkest Corners, ending in a standing ovation. That was, to me, a special moment, because I spent time editing and proofreading the book, always wondering what those effects would look like in real time. Now I could see. Now I knew.

You're going to know, too. Everyone seems to talk about Melocotin, his silk to peach routine. So let's start there. I LOVE that Ben has taken a classic trick and modernized it. You'll see that again and again in The Darkest Corners. But this is his signature trick, and it has a beautiful construction. A signed square of material changes into a peach pit, and then the signed silk is removed from inside a peach. It's such an odd, unusual effect, and completely clean from start to finish. The routine takes more than thirty pages to describe, which means you get extraordinary detail on every facet of the routine.

There's a card in balloon effect described in these pages that is among the best versions I've encountered for this plot. Again, Ben's material exudes the kind of real-world testing that you hope for when you're reading a magic book. He has thought of every detail, and earned out every little advantage through hundreds of performances.

Perhaps my favorite routine in the book is "The Human Lottery Machine," which is an odd combination of Balls from Mouth and a Lotto Prediction. It's an odd pairing to mix geek magic with mentalism, but it COMPLETELY works.

The book is written by Ben's longtime friend and collaborator Neil Kelso. it is, perhaps, the most handsome book Vanishing Inc. has ever produced. But paper quality and covers never concern me. What I can recommend about this book is that it's a working professional tipping his most prized material. You could, if you wished, assemble a whole parlor show centered around the material in this book. But I don't think that's the approach you should take. Ben pours out his heart into the contents of this book; there are notebook entries and once-in-a-lifetime trick ideas (like ways to make cards float...for performance on the radio) and a trick using an actual Venus Flytrap. This is a book that will INSPIRE you to create, and improve your parlor show.


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