EFFECT: Four blue backed cards are shown and one by one they turn face up, then with a snap of the fingers the backs change to multi colored.

DETAILS: This is the latest release from Gary Jones, an accomplished magician from the UK. Mr. Jones has released several DVD’s with routines of varying difficulty, but are almost all card effects. This is his latest release and its a decent quickie. Shock Twist is a packet trick based on a Derek Dingle effect where the four queens (or any other four of a kind) turn over one at a time ala twisting the aces, but with a technicolor finish. Mr Jones has streamlined the handling without sacrificing the effect. It is a solid routine with a surprising finish. It features a very nice twisting sequence that fully shows the backs being a single color. Then in an instant, the backs are shown to be four different colors. Shock Twist uses the standard Elmsley count and is very consistent. There is a strange move to setup, but this is covered presentationally. I’m personally not a big fan of this, but it does work. Once you’ve setup, you can proceed with no problems all the way to a relatively clean finish that will surprise your viewers.

Recently Gary posted on his Facebook page that he was surprised how little attention magicians give packet tricks. He goes on to say that in his opinion they’re great – so much magic from so few cards. (Coincidentally this was posted about the same time Shock Twist was released). It seems magicians shy away from packet tricks as if they are something only for beginners (remember Color Monte?) I will admit, I am one of those magicians. I tend to avoid packet tricks primarily because they are often too quick for my taste, and can lead the spectator down the path of “tricks cards”. I prefer longer routines and not quick tricks, but that’s me. However, removing the appropriate cards from a deck does seem to dispel this line of thinking. This was something the late great Michael Skinner was fond of, and has worked successfully for me when performing a packet trick.

TEST RESULTS: After working with this routine for a couple of weeks, I must admit I have changed my mind about packet tricks. The reactions are good, and the ending really nails them. In my opinion, removing the cards from a deck definitely makes it stronger, but the routine can certainly stand on its own. Combining it with a color changing deck or a rainbow deck really “kicks em in the head”. Two key points stand out with this routine:
1) consistency of actions – all the moves are the same, even the original Twisting the Aces couldn’t say this.
2) The cards are reset when you’re done. Workers will appreciate this.

That being said, there is a downside: The cards cannot be examined. There is a gaff and its not easily palmed out. This is a bit of a bummer because people really want to see the cards. You can hand out one or two but not all. With the proper presentation and audience management, this flies by, but it might be a deal breaker for some. I would recommend changing a couple of the backs as one seems a bit out of place even with the premise of changing backs. Any one of the hundreds of custom decks out there can help with this, (just be sure the faces match).

The DVD is well-produced, short and to the point. Gary describes the mechanics of the routine and also teaches the Elmsley Count. I’m not sure if a DVD is terribly necessary, but in this day and age, I guess its whats expected.

FINAL THOUGHTS: All in all, this is a good routine that may just change your mind about packet tricks. If this appeals to you, check it out.