The Wiz Kids Present:

Rope Magic - Instructional DVD

Reviewed by John Long


The Wiz Kids Rope Magic is a collection of 9 individual tricks and a rope routine that consists of 7 additional rope effects. The effects are taught by Jim Gerrish and a couple of Wiz Kids. Some of the effects require gimmicks, but the gimmicks are easily created from common household items.

The individual effects include 2 rope through neck, Blok Kord (a rope through a block of wood), 2 cut and restored rope(one with and one w/o scissors), Grant's Spectator Rope trick, Grant's Perfect Cut Rope trick, Houdini's Rope Escape(an escape from a wrist tie), and a version of Abbott's Slick Tie(an “in and out” escape where the hands are tied to the legs).

The rope routine consists of 7 impromptu effects: making knots appear by flicking a rope in the air, and then making a knot disappear by magically pulling it off the rope; sliding a (tight)knot from one end to the other, then making that knot disappear; eating a knot off of the middle of a rope; tying a knot in a rope without letting go of the ends, and then "teaching" a spectator how to do it(who actually succeeds, with the magi's help). The routine ends by uncoiling a rope to reveal that many knots have suddenly appeared in the rope.

I particularly liked certain extra touches:

- The two rope through neck effects were paired in a way that the second built upon the first.

- Grant’s Perfect Cut and Spectator Rope were paired to make for a nice multi-phase effect. Also, certain modifications to Spectator Rope improve the misdirection and handling.

- Modifications in the handling of Blok Kord allowed the rope & block to be inspected right before the penetration occurs.

- Collin’s 4 in 1 Rope trick (4 ropes are “cut” into 1)and his Panama Rope trick (1 rope is cut into 4 pieces, and then restored back to 1 piece) were paired together for a clever combination (but not taught). (Editor's note: You'll find the Panama Rope taught HERE)

The pairing of Grant's two tricks was very insightful (or diabolical depending on your mindset). The two effects look about the same to the spectator, but the methods are completely different.

- PHASE I (Perfect Cut): The effect starts with 2 ropes; the magi holds out the middles of the 2 ropes and lets the spectator cut the two ropes, creating 4 pieces. The spectator is then given 2 of the newly cut ropes, and the magi the other two. Under the guise of teaching the spectator how to restore the ropes, the magi and the spectator tie their two ropes together, say a few magical words, and both sets of rope are restored; well almost; the magi's ropes are restored into one long piece, but the spectator still has two ropes.

- PHASE II (Spectator Rope): Not to be discouraged, the magi pulls out another long length of rope, wraps a card around the middle of the rope; the spectator cuts the rope on both sides of the card; the magi then ties two of the ends together. The knotted ends are placed into a jar, the free ends are threaded through openings in the jar, the jar is sealed and handed to the spectator. After a few magical gestures, the spectator can pull the rope out of the jar and find that the rope is restored. The spectator can be given the restored rope and the card that is still wrapped around the rope as a souvenir.

The last trick is a version of Abbott's Slick Tie, an "in and out" escape with the rope tied around the wrists and legs. The method of this effect is adequately taught, but if you want to see how this trick can be a fantastic showpiece, view a video clip of Billy Bishop performing this effect.

Some Negatives & Miscellaneous Comments

- The video quality is low, but that does not interfere with the learning of the tricks. There was a glitch in the DVD that I had that caused my player to skip over the first demonstration of the rope through neck effect.

- Gerrish's persona is very laid back; I felt like I was at a campfire retreat.

- I think the instructions could have been more tightly choreographed, yet he did thoroughly teach each effect; sometimes going over parts at least twice.

- At times, some of Gerrish's handlings looked awkward.

- Some of the cutting sequences involved cutting several pieces at once, which was difficult for him, and certainly would be for a younger magician. Considering the audience, I think these sections should have been revised.

- Personally, I would have liked to seen at least one ring and rope effect.

- Given the pricing of other rope DVDs: $10 for Amazing Magic with Rope by Magic Inc, and $25 for Daryl's Expert Rope Magic(single volume) (prices from The Magic Warehouse), I think this should be priced about $10.

Overall, the tricks on this DVD are not new, nor technically difficult, but give the beginning rope magician a good introduction to rope magic, and plenty of material with which to entertain others. These are all decent rope tricks, and I appreciated some of the creative pairing of effects, and some of the creative touches that were added and improved the effect. I hope to try some of these on my audiences in the future.

John Long

Editor's Note: (May 2018) We no longer sell this as a DVD. Instead, you can purchase the right to watch the video on Vimeo using a special passcode. Information can be found HERE.

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