Phil Tilston - The Box

Phil Tilston - The Box

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Phil Tilston - The Box

Effect (From the manufacturer's ad copy):

Two cards are selected, signed and lost in any deck. In the blink of an eye the 1st card appears inside the box. The card box is flipped over to reveal, in bold permanent black marker, the name of their signed card. Under impossible circumstances, the second card appears inside the box. The spectator actually removes the card from inside the box!

The kicker comes as you again flip over the box and now, the bold black ink says the name of the second signed card.

The commentary below comes straight from our Chief Product Reviewer Evan Bishop who has spent quite a bit of time playing with The Box and offers this review of Phil Tilston and JB Magic's new effect:

DVD Production Quality: Despite the low quality of the online demo video, The Box dvd is high quality. It is filmed in Mark Mason's studio, so both the audio and video are clear. The production is pretty bare bones, but it does its job well. Unfortunately, the menu does not have a "Play All" option so you must click through each section (there are five) manually.

The Box by Phil Tilston - Gimmick Quality: Although Mark Mason has a reputation of manufacturing extremely clever gimmicks with easily breakable parts (lots of threads and flaps), this gimmick is simple, well made, and should last you as long as a regular card case would.

The Box by Phil Tilston - Crediting: Unfortunately, there are no credits given for this effect or gimmick. I was taken aback that somebody as well known as Mark Mason at JB Magic would not include any information regarding where the idea for this routine/gimmick had come from. This is especially surprising considering how similar this gimmick is to some others that have been released recently. I seriously doubt that Phil Tilston came up with all the various aspects of this routine; it would've been nice to see even just a few credits (besides Mark's own routine, Solo).

The Box by Phil Tilston - Teaching: Mark's teaching is quite good and has all of the detail that is necessary to learn the routine. He also gives several different options for parts of the routine regarding set-up/reset when working in the real-world. His teaching comes in at around 21 minutes, so everything that needs to be covered is covered.

The Box by Phil Tilston - Practicality: One of the strong points about this routine is the fact that it resets instantly and the gimmick can be kept right with your cards, so you can do it over and over all night. However, I should mention that if you decide to have the cards signed, then you must replace those two specific cards before doing the trick again (Mark gives a solution to this on the dvd). Other than that the routine is very practical and well-suited for restaurant workers.

The Box by Phil Tilston - Difficulty: The Box routine, as taught on the dvd, is easy to do and definitely within the reach of magicians of any skill level. Advanced magicians could replace some of Mark's simple moves (double undercut, for example) with harder but more deceptive moves, however.

Considerations: As I mentioned earlier, the gimmick for The Box will only last as long as a regular card case, which could be pretty limited if you happen to drop it on a wet table or something like that. It is not very feasible to make a new gimmick on your own either, so you would most likely have to purchase a new one. Also, the structure of the routine may be considered somewhat anti-climatic since the card-to-card box is somewhat weakened by the prediction aspect of the routine and vice versa. I don't think the routine is necessarily bad, but it's not dramatically structured very well.

Important Note: this routine can ONLY be performed with red, rider-backed, Bicycle cards.

Overall: The Box didn't leave me feeling totally overwhelmed with joy, but it's still good. If you need/want a routine with a lot of magic that involves two spectators, resets instantly, is easy to perform, and doesn't take up much pocket space, then you'll probably enjoy The Box. I just don't know if I can really justify spending $30 on a gimmick that will wear out pretty easily after a few nights' hard work. There are a lot of better card to card box routines available here at The Trick Shop (check out my recommendations below), and many better prediction effects, as well.

Again, The Box is a quality gimmick and a magical routine that will get you good reactions, but I don't think it's anything particularly original or fantastic. My official rating is 78%

The Trick Shop Talks Back!

Opener, Middler, Closer? The Box is a nice piece to perform in the middle of your set because it gets two people involved, has five magical moments, and it won't bother the set-up of your other tricks. It's not fast enough to be an opener and not necessarily strong/memorable enough to be a great closer.

Examinability: While the ad states that the card case is "fully examinable" at the end after the writing has changed, that is only half-true. Yes, the audience can look at and even handle the box, but it is NOT "fully examinable." I would move on with another trick after they looked at the box briefly (another reason it's a good "middler").

Other Recommendations: For a killer signed card to card box with many other applications check out Encased by Dave Forrest. It has a similar method to The Box, but the gimmicks are much more versatile and the routines are structured better, in my opinion.


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