TRICK REVIEW - Abra by Jordan Victoria
Updated: May 14
Here is my in-depth review of Abra by Jordan Victoria.
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The effect is simple: instant change of a red-backed card to a blue-backed card.
WHAT YOU GET?
You will get already constructed gimmick which can be used with your own Bicycle Rider Back card.
You will also get a link for video instruction.
QUALITY OF THE GIMMICK
The gimmick is made with Bicycle Rider back cards. It contains delicate part which needs maintenance after prolonged use.
The gimmick can be applied easily and it is basically a one-time setup.
Once the gimmick is set in place, it is almost invisible from all angles.
Maintenance of the gimmick is not particularly difficult. It can be done in less than 5 minutes if the main part is broken.
QUALITY OF THE TUTORIAL
The effect is well explained in a 23 minutes and 12 seconds long video. The explanation is hosted by Jordan Victoria, the creator himself. The video are mainly close-up shot of Jordan’s hands.
Length (in minutes) of the main parts (I literally counted):
I came up with the title for each session. There is no title in original video, sessions are separated by transitions only.
Introduction - 0:30
Gimmick - 3:26
Gimmick Setup - 4:29
How to Use the Gimmick - 3:04
Main Routine - 5:31
Gimmick Construction - 5:58
Outro - 0:14
In ‘Gimmick’ session, the working of the gimmick is explained in details. It’s a convincing gimmick which covers many aspects of visual card change very well. it allows card change at fingertips or in mid-air. Both sides of the folded card can be shown cleanly and at close range without exposure.
To get the gimmick ready, you need to do an one-time DIY work. It’s pretty easy, that’s why I wonder why the publisher didn’t finish the gimmick before shipping it.
Jordan taught 2 main handlings to do the card change in ‘How to Use the Gimmick’. The fist method is mainly for in-hand change while the second one can be used for mid-air change. There is big difference between 2 handlings and it needs more moves to get the 2nd method ready. But generally both are easy to handle even for beginners. One issue I would like to address is the sound at the moment of change. There is a relatively snappy sound during mid-air change. It’s quite hard to cover because you want the audience to focus on the moment of change. Thus most probably they will be aware of that sound.
‘Main Routine’ is very standard. It is the red and blue cards transposition in spectator’s hand. The explanation is clear and the effect is super visual. It’s a good routine for beginners to start using this gimmick. but it’s not creative enough for experienced performers. Jordan also tries to explain a method to clean up but it’s done quite poorly. It looks like he is trying to convince the viewers that this effect can end clean but I am quite sure that it should not be done because of how the gimmick is set in place. In the tutorial, even the creator himself messed up the clean up and exposed the secret.
In ‘Gimmick Construction’ section, Jordan talks about how to construct the gimmick. It’s relatively easy and should not take more than 10 minutes. Each gimmick allows colour change from 1 colour to another but not another way around.
Overall, the video handles basic information very well but lack the depth. I wish more ideas could be added to make the tutorial more information and inspiring to experienced magicians.
The card change per se is pretty much automatic and doesn’t require sleight-of-hand. However, there is some moves to be done for the get-ready.
If you want to do the clean up, it’s better to use your own method instead of using the one taught in the tutorial. As I mentioned about, you may accidentally expose the gimmick.
However, there is one pretty good way to handle this: You can replace the material which put the gimmick together with a non-solid special substance (not the glue, sorry, I can't hint too much). Then you can do the clean up pretty fast without any issue.
The card with the gimmick is not examinable after the change.
The product ad states that ‘ABRA is 100% clean from beginning to end and you can give everything out for examination without any switch.’
That’s not entirely correct.
There are 2 misleading statements here. First of all, the performer ends 100% dirty in magician’s sense. I don't think any magician will argue that if they know the method. Second, there is sleight of hand involved, though the publisher can argue that it is not a ’switch’. This product is not bad at all, so I am surprised that why publisher has to mislead people to believe that the effect is much better than it is. It’s needless to mislead consumer in their faces and disappoint them when they find out the truth later.
However, if the performer conducted certain move, all the cards can be examinable in fact. And the move is within the reach of most performers, thus it is practical to pass the cards to spectators after the effect.
It takes less than 5 seconds to reset.
There is no angle requirement at all. In fact, you are recommended to have audience watch you from all angles.
No special clothing is needed.
The effect is very practical. It can be viewed from all angles (with the 2nd method), and the gimmick is undetectable in most cases. However, you want to be aware of the sound issue I mentioned above. Some people may suggest covering it by snapping fingers, but I think it’s a lazy solution which is not ideal.
COMPARISON WITH REVOLVE BY NICHOLAS LAWRENCE
Many people will compare the similarity between Abra and Revolve, here is a few points which may interest you.
Abra: The change can be done at fingertips and mid-air.
Revolve: Only mid-air (non in-hands) change is ideal.
SPEED OF CHANGE
Abra: The speed is faster.
Revolve: The speed is little bit slower than Abra’s. But it is compensated by the gravity and magician's skill. It is usually undetectable to eyes.
EASE OF USE
Abra: It’s easier to handle in-hands, but it has to be in-hands when the gimmick is ready.
Revolve: There are more restrictions on handling, but the gimmick can be ready either in-hands or on table.
VARIETY OF CHANGE
Abra: The way of handling the change is limited. There are only 3 changes (actually 2 in strict sense) are taught on tutorial.
Revolve: 6 ways of changing the card is taught by Nicholas in the past, they all look different and very interesting.
RISK OF FLASH
Abra: Due to the structure of the gimmick, there is a slight chance of exposing the gimmick at the end of the change. In fact, the creator has flashed when he demo it.
Revolve: Audience may see something during the change. It has to be covered by magician’s skill.
Abra: Everything can be shown cleanly before and after the change.
Revolve: There is angle restriction before the change, and none after the change.
Abra: More frequent maintenance is required.
Revolve: Basically maintenance is not needed even for prolonged use.
Abra: It ends dirty and it’s relatively inconvenient to clean up.
Revolve: It ends dirty but clean up can be done immediately easily after the change.
EASE OF CONSTRUCTION
Abra: It’s very easy to make. And less material is required.
Revolve: More material is needed, and precision is more crucial in making Revolve.
Overall, both effects look very visual when done right. Undoubtedly, there are pros & cons for both versions. For beginners, Revolve is easier to handle. And I also like the fact that it has more ‘depth’ to it.
One strength about Abra is its easiness to work with routines. Its get-ready position is more versatile, clean and less difficult to handle compared with Revolve. I foresee some performers may want to combine 2 gimmicks (Abra & Revolve) in a single routine to make something impossible which can't be done with either gimmick only. As for the price, both are justified considering the material involved.
As Abra is super clean before the change, you can ask audience to watch you from all angles to make the change more impactful.
As I suggested above, use both Abra & Revolve in the same effect would be very strong and interesting.
PROS ABOUT THE PRODUCT
The effect is super visual without difficult sleight-of-hand.
It looks very clean before and after the change.
Construction of gimmick is very easy.
CONS ABOUT THE PRODUCT
The tutorial is preliminary. It lacks the depth for experienced magicians.
The product description is very misleading. It doesn’t end 100% clean fore sure. And cards are not examinable without cleaning up with sleight-of-hand.
There is an obvious sound during the moment of change.
Abra is a very nice visual effect which can be done with minimal effort. The fact that it can be done surrounded makes it a good effect for any performing environments.
Though there are merits for beginners, the sound and clean-up are something which are challenging to handle. It also suffers from misleading ad which is a bad practise. Magicians don’t mind less-than-perfect tricks but honesty is the utmost importance to them.
At US$30, the trick is decent and definitely usable. Pocket space is minimal and it’s ready to use out of pocket. As a product itself, it’s very good, but I will leave the decision to you that how you view the misleading ad.
Video Quality: 6/10
Effectiveness of Tricks: 9/10
Cost Performance: 8/10
Honesty of Ad: 0/10
Final Score: 7/10
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