Blake Vogt hits the ground running with his debut release at Theory11, REF4M. REF4M is an impromptu, ungimmicked, signed torn and restored effect. The vast amount of thinking, time, and effort Blake put into this effect is evident in both the construction and execution of the trick. There is one downside; the fact that it’s absolutely necessary to tear the card back up at the conclusion of the trick. I don’t think this should stop anyone from performing REF4M though as there are ways to routine it in or otherwise make it seem natural. I’ll get more into that towards the end of this review, but for now let’s start at the beginning.
Method: One word comes to mind… creative. The way the effect is set-up just shows Blake’s creativity. For those of you who know Benjamin Ear’s Thought of Card to Pocket this is the same type of method. Not in sleights or moves but in thinking. This isn’t a magician fooler or some crazy, of-the-wall gimmick. It’s a real, audience tested, worker. REF4M is built from the ground up with the spectator in mind. What really sets it apart from other Torn and Restored effects is it’s simplicity. You can do this on the spot, with any card, anytime. No set up whatsoever. After practicing this and getting the moves to be second-nature, think about how powerful of a trick you have ready to go at any second.
Angles: Blake says this can be performed completely surrounded, which is 100% true. They even shoot footage from behind during the trailer. So no complaints here.
Teaching: I don’t think Theory11 has sold a video with sub-par teaching. Blake explains each fold, tear, restoration, and move thoroughly and clearly. And from multiple angles. At the end of the teaching portion there is an over-the-shoulder walk through, followed by a another walk through from the front. This makes it easy to know what both you and your spectators should be seeing at any given point during REF4M.
Difficulty: The method behind this effect is unique and fresh. As such, you (most likely) haven’t been practicing anything like this. REF4M isn’t inherently difficult or complex but learning a totally different type of method takes time. After a bit of practice it becomes more and more natural. So REF4M isn’t hard, just different.
Overall: I’ve never been a fan of most torn and restored plots for one reason, the extras: gimmicks, duplicates, and the like. Why have something incriminating right where all the heat is at? REF4M, for me, takes torn and restored to the next level. It’s a cleaned up, practical version. This is an effect that will work and will play big out in the real world. Not only that, but each piece of the effect is motivated. There aren’t any suspicious moves or switches. This is how it would look if you really did tear a card up and restore it. Also, being impromptu, it’s ready to go at any time. This is huge for me. If you’re at a friends who has an old deck of cards then you’re ready to go. It’s organic magic.
As I mentioned before, the only downside is the fact that you have to tear the restored card up in the end. The spectators don’t get a chance to examine the card in full at the end. But, you can always routine this into your act and make it an asset rather than a liability. Blake suggests explaining to the spectators that this situation is impossible, so it must be torn back up. Some users over on the Theory11 forums have come up with some great ideas as well. One other hook I was tossing around is treating the whole effect like a story. Explain how you once saw a great magaician tear a card up, restore each piece one-bye-one, and put the whole thing back together. You go through the corresponding sections of the trick while saying your patter, and at the end give a line like “But, he never told me how it works.” or “To this day, I’m still not quite as good as he was.” and tear the card up.
Images taken from video.
Posted: May 10th, 2011
at 9:37pm by Robin Carey
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