SUMMARY: An ingenious routine, ending with a spectator drawing their own card from a shuffled deck
OVERVIEW: Andi Gladwin's "Aura" is one of those satisfying card tricks that is not only a good effect in itself, but comes with a very gripping storyline and plot, and a wonderful presentation that really makes it terrific. With this effect, Andi has created a very emotional hook that gets your spectators personally involved in a way that makes the outcome seem even more magical and surprising. The premise? A spectator finds their own card from a genuinely shuffled deck! Best of all, many aspects of it are almost self-working.
EFFECT: Three spectators each get a card, chosen apparently at random. Then the deck is genuinely and thoroughly shuffled by a spectator - and this is no stooge, the cards really are well and truly mixed! Now the magician proceeds to produce all three cards, each in a more surprising manner than the last. The most stunning revelation is the final one, when the third spectator reaches into the magician's pocket and selects a random card from the deck - and it proves to be his selection! At the end all the cards of the deck are spread face-up to show that they are all different. Andi's presentation deserves special mention here - he explains how sometimes people can feel vibrations and have a connection with an object, and it's this premise that is key to how he goes about finding the three chosen cards. Do check the video of the official trailer and see Andi's complete performance!
VIDEO: What you get for your money is an instant digital download of the video, which demonstrates and teaches the routine, with Andi explaining everything. The entire video is just under 30 minutes long, and is filmed in high quality. The video begins with the four minute performance shown in the trailer, after which Andi briefly explains some of the ideas behind the effect before going into teaching the different phases of the routine. The bulk of the video features Andy on camera, talking and demonstrating how everything works.
TEACHING: Andi has a very conversational and natural style of speaking, and also organizes his explanation very carefully and precisely. There's tons of useful material here, and he'll give you far more information than you actually need. But that's terrific - for example in the process of his teaching he offered a useful tip about improving and disguising a break that I found very helpful for improving my technique generally. He also covers the handling of a basic F in a helpful way. In addition he gives a lot of extra ideas that you can consider and work with in order to customize the effect to make it your own, and even discusses different methods to accomplish aspects of the routine. So the teaching is excellent, very thorough, and gives you a lot to work with.
METHOD: The method for finding the first card is ingenious; it's so simple, and yet something I'd never considered before. Brilliant and easy! The method of gradually eliminating cards is very clever, because this presentation supports the method and makes it easier, actually disguising the secret. Other methods are possible to achieve a similar result, and Andi does mention these, most of which will already be familiar to magicians, but I really love his idea. The method for finding the second card and third card is more or less what I expected, and other magicians were also quick to suspect the method used. Even while it may not be a magician fooler, it will definitely leave lay-people completely amazed, even though it is essentially self-working at that point.
DEVELOPMENT: Another strength of this routine is how it builds up to the climax. Rather than doing three separate card tricks, Andi would rather build up a single routine involving three cards, thus having more magic operating in a smaller space of time. It helps strengthen the final phase in which the spectator is more involved.
PRESENTATION: The whole "aura" concept that Andi uses as the storyline also adds a great deal to the presentation and impact. He uses the idea of touching the spectator's finger in connection with the idea of feeling vibrations and making a connection, and this "touch" really helps add to the presentational value of the performance.
DIFFICULTY: The method Andi has come up with is very clever, and once you get to a certain stage of the trick, you are home free, and it's hard to go wrong from there. But that doesn't mean this is an easy trick to do, especially because you will need to master an important F early on, which Andi does explain carefully and in detail, although most magicians will already know this technique. You do need to be quite set-up in order to perform this trick, which includes having a gimmicked deck, and even some optional clothing alterations that Andi explains at length. This shouldn't put you off - they're easily accomplished yourself, aren't anything major, can easily be restored - and are optionaly because Andi does go on to explain an alternate "alterationless" handling that makes them entirely unnecessary and even has an easier handling, the only disadvantage being you won't end clean. So in terms of difficulty, I'd consider this at the "intermediate" level, mainly because of the set-up and gimmicks required, and the need to master a particular F. Some solid work on the presentation is also important.
IMPRESSIONS: Aura is more than just another card trick - it's a very well thought out and cleverly presented routine, where all aspects of method and presentation have been carefully tested by Andi over time. He's worked on this routine very intensely, and mentions that he must have tried ten different versions over the years. The final version that he teaches is something he's used himself for at least three years, and it's proven successful, and that's why he felt it was ready to be published. While his preferred method is perhaps the best and cleanest, he also discusses various other ideas that you could use as part of this routine, and various ways to achieve a similar result, so there is considerable flexibility built in if his way of doing parts of the routine isn't a good fit for you. The trick does also require some investment of time and resources, and isn't something you can do at a moment's notice with a borrowed deck - although you certainly could lead into this from another trick. So some set-up and planning is definitely required, and you will need the right cards at your disposal to make things work, but the payoff is well worth all this!
RECOMMENDATION: Andi is a skilled magician, who not only can come up with creative and ingenious ideas, but also excels in teaching them clearly and presenting them well. Aura is a fine example of a quality and compelling routine with card magic that working magicians will want to consider.
- BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame