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Inner Circle
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REVIEW: A Masterclass in the Cups & Balls by Jamy Ian Swiss and Vanishing Inc.

RATING: 9.5 out of 10


FULL REVIEW: A Masterclass in the Cups & Balls by Jamy Ian Swiss and Vanishing Inc. is a must have resource for your DVD collection.  This is an excellently produced and delivered project that touches not only on the Cups and Balls, but presentation, timing, misdirection, how to perform and practice sleights and so much more.


The project begins with Jamy taking the stage in a parlor setting before a real audience.  Jamy starts his almost twelve minute routine explaining the history of the Cups & Balls from ancient times to the present while laying out the cups and displaying the small red balls.  He is so fluent and natural in the routine from years of performance, practice and honing.  He borrows heavily from the Dai Vernon routine, but adds his own touches to various aspects of the Professor’s work making it his own. 


The final load phase is fantastic.  First Swiss produces a large red ball.  Then, all at the same time, immediately following the red ball production, he simultaneously reveals three whole citrus fruits --- a lemon and two limes.  Then, once everyone thinks the routine is over, Jamy produces another impossible load…. a shot glass filled with a shot of whisky – which he promptly downs and walks off the stage.


The routine is easy to follow.  Sometimes in this classic, it is hard to follow the location of the balls and you cannot remember where the balls are supposed to be.  Sometimes the phases proceed with too much rapidity and sometimes it is just downright confusing (not to be mistaken for fooling).  Not so with Swiss who expertly crafted a story line that brings the spectators into the fold with ease.  There is not a pause of a lull in Swiss’s routine and it is beautifully crafted.  He paid attention to Vernon’s mandate that a magical routine must, must, must have clarity of effect.  This presentation is as clear as you can get.  Smith has his own aging hipster style (sorry, about that) to him and it works perfectly.  He is a cool cat.  He presents the routine with comedy that sometimes goes over your head and sometimes it hits you right between the eyes.  During a portion of the routine, he invites a spectator to assist and he treats her with respect so that she feels comfortable standing in the spotlight with him.


Swiss then teaches the routine step by step with ultimate clarity and no unnecessary information.  The teaching is superb as is the production and camerawork.  Swiss is a magician, a creator, an intellect in our art, an author and a teacher.  After watching this DVD, I hope that Vanishing Inc. is already in production with the next JIS production.


Although this project is entitled as a “masterclass” it does not teach the fundamentals of the false transfers and basic sleights needed for this routine.  In this regard, the DVD is not for absolute beginners and he refers the viewer to the wealth of material easily accessible for the novice magician.  And, for the novice, this is a classic routine that takes hours upon hours of practice and thinking and learning and it is worth it!  At the end of the DVD, Swiss goes into some detail about the magic wand spin and some of his own touches to the routine.


This is a DVD that is so good and so excellent that I will be tempted to buy another copy just to have it again – to replicate the feeling of opening something great.  Even if you already have so many of the great DVD’s on the age-old routine, I highly recommend this project, actually I insist you check this out!


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