SUMMARY: A creative, clever, and uncomplicated Any Card At Any Number
I've always been interested in learning an Any Card At Any Number routine, because it's a very powerful effect that seems truly impossible. However many of these routines rely on real skill with sleight of hand. And so a big shout out to Chris Mayhew, who has come up with a very clever method that accomplishes this amazing effect in way that relies more on an ingenious method rather than on the usual card sleights. It has real potential to blow away lay-people, and is a very good magician fooler as well! Despite the amazing outcome, absolutely no gimmicks are used whatsoever - and once you've seen the demo, you may find that hard to believe given how strong this effect is!
?The spectator can freely select any number from 1 through 50. Then, to determine a truly random card, they freely select a place in the middle of the deck, with the card on one side representing the suit and the card on the other side representing the value. Then the spectator himself counts down to the number they chose, and amazingly, the card at that number is the chosen card! Yes, really!
What you get for around $10 is an instant digital download of the video which teaches the effect. The video is a 35 minutes file of only 75 MB. The first five minutes features Chris demonstrating the effect to a spectator, and the remaining half hour consists of the explanation, which is divided into sections that move through stages of the routine. The relatively small file size does mean that the video is not super high quality resolution, but since the trick doesn't rely on sleights as much as it does on a clever method, everything is easy to follow. The footage is not spectacular, but it's decent enough and serves the purpose just fine. At times the camera shows Chris, and other times it zooms in on his close-up mat or on the cards themselves. The volume was a little soft in my headphones, but aside from that, no real complaints about the video quality as such.
?The only downside of Chris Mayhew's style is that he can be a little long-winded at times, and that's what accounts for this video being as long as it is. On the other hand, this can also be a positive, because he covers everything thoroughly, and there are parts that you can even skip over. At one point, for example, he covers how to set up the deck, and many magicians may already be familiar with how to do this, in which case you could skip over that part. The video is also very clearly divided into different sections, with sub-titles used to emphasize points and mark transitions in the routine. This is all very helpful, and makes everything easier to follow and remember.
But despite the length, there is another redeeming element, and that is the dry and deadpan sense of humour that Chris uses in combination with a low-key style. He is absolutely hilarious to listen to and watch! Obviously you can use your own approach for the actual presentation of the effect, and don't need to perform it exactly the way that Chris Mayhew does. But his lively sense of humor certainly makes the entire video very fun to watch - for me anyway. Here's an example from the tutorial section, where Chris says: "You could also use a technique with a donkey, pair of scissors, and two shoelaces, but it's very difficult, so I don't recommend it." The performance video will give you a good idea of his style, and it only gets better in the explanation. To illustrate, below are some screenshots of Chris wearing different hats and masks throughout the explanation video. Unnecessary? Of course. Funny? Totally! I felt that Chris' unique brand of humour added a lot to the explanation, and made it entertaining to watch despite the slow pacing at times.
In terms of difficulty, there aren't really any difficult sleights at all, and as such this trick is well within the reach of intermediate magicians. In fact, it hardly uses any sleights at all, which is incredible really! There's some set-up (plus the addition of an indicator card you need to use), and there's a number of things to remember and be working out in your mind as the trick progresses, so performing this trick does require careful focus and practice. But the trick isn't about sleights as such; it's not quite self-working, but it's only a few steps removed from it. That doesn't mean it's easy; there's a fair bit to remember and master, and it's not something you could do impromptu with a borrowed deck.
I've always loved the ACAAN premise, and there have been lots of variations on it already, but Chris Mayhew has come up with something very clever here. The method is fairly straight forward and ingenious, and the effect is also very strong for the spectator - I wouldn't be surprised if it would also fool a lot of magicians. In fact, many magicians who have seen the demo have wondered if it is even a normal deck - but yes it is!
What I especially love about the routine is how fair everything seems - and for the most part it really is totally fair and honest. There's no sense of secret or hidden moves, and the way the effect is presented really is what is going on - your spectator genuinely can select any number between 1 and 50, and genuinely can place the indicator card anywhere in the middle of the deck; the fact that the spectator counts the cards himself and reveals the final selection also helps make it even strong strong. CAANDY is genius in its simplicity and its effect!
Sleight of hand can accomplish a great deal, but sometimes you just need a very clever method. That's exactly what Chris Mayhew has come up with in CAANDY. It is also a routine that can easily be adapted to your own style and patter.
This is a great Any Card At Any Number routine, and is a real fooler, and is well worth checking out!
- BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame