Look No Hands by Wayne Dobson
Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii July, 2011)
At this point, Wayne Dobson should require little introduction to readers, as his published output in the last few years has earned him a standing within the magic community equal or greater than his previous standing as one of the most accomplished British television performers and comedy magicians of his generation. It is also widely known by now that Mr. Dobson suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, which has confined him to a wheelchair and increasingly reduced the use of his hands. Nevertheless these constraints have done little to slow his creative output, or his effectiveness as a stage performer; if you've seen him on stage then you know that his comic timing and spectator management skills are superlative, matched by an eye for clear effects and clever methods. Mr. Dobson is a complete pro in every sense of the word.
In this latest booklet, Mr. Dobson provides 10 commercial card tricks, all of which share the conditions of being performed entirely "hands off," that is, without the magician handling the cards. These are then essentially so-called self-working tricks—or in Ken Krenzel's preferable terminology, "sleight free." The difference however between this collection of such plots and many others is that in every case, Mr. Dobson has provided effective presentations that cover the flaws of such procedure-laden tricks, and moreover, produce entertaining results.
And so there are versions of "Out Of This World"; spelling plots; an Ace Assembly (and the Aces do vanish, from the pack, in the hands of the spectator!); various coincidence plots; the "Invisible Deck" without the gimmicked pack (this has been previously published); a particularly mystifying matching plot entitled "Second Chance"; a funny trick called "Birthday Card"; a comedy version of the "Tossed Out Deck" that comes straight from the author's professional act and can frankly go straight into yours if it suits your style; and the book closes with "Echo," a polished version of the Card on Seat plot in which the spectator plays the role of the magician, repeating the lines provided to him by the performer—a guaranteed five or 10 minutes of laughs in the hands of the right performer.