This is my review of Tanner Wilsons The Healing Touch (beta version). Please forgive my tardiness, but I needed time to think carefully about the merits of the product before posting anything. It wouldnt be fair to potential buyers, nor Tanner, for me to rush out a snap opinion.
Ive been in magic for almost 30 years, so Ive seen a few fads come and go. But some seem to last longer than others. Torn and restored is one of them.
Few effects stir more interest in a magician than the piece-by-piece torn and restored card. Is there room for yet another? Tanner Wilson seems to think so, but Im afraid hes coming in at the tail end of a pasteboard land rush on T&R. After David Copperfield, David Regal, John Carney, Guy Hollingworth, John Lovick, Wesley James, J. C. Wagner, Ben Harris, Paul Harris, Brad Ambrose, Chris Kenworthy, Daniel Garcia, Yves Doumergue, and Maxime Montier have all had a go at it, what more is there left to do in terms of method? The wells of innovation appear to be drying up all around, and the law of diminishing returns is coming into play. Its getting increasingly difficult to create anything additive at this point. Honestly, how far can we take the fundamental idea of a folded edge? Without resorting to tape and adhesives, its mostly minor touches, routining, and presentation from here on out.
So it is with Healing Touch. Tanner isnt offering any novel methods here. It has all been done before in other routines (some would say over-done). However, I appreciate the thoughtful effort he put into addressing some of the perceived weaknesses of other routines. Unfortunately, in doing so, he runs into the same difficulties that previous explorers encountered. Theres an old maxim in magic that when you try to improve a trick in one area, weaknesses invariably show up elsewhere.
For example, Healing Touch strives to eliminate the need for a duplicate. Tanner succeeds, but at the cost of clean looking tears. Only one of the tears is real. The rest are feigned. Of course, this means that you cannot simultaneously display four separate pieces. It also means that some pantomiming is necessary for the final restoration. These shortcomings make the routine less visual than other routines like Hollingworths, Garcias, or Doumergues. Another thing you should be aware of is that the card can be signed on the face, but you perform each restoration with the back of the card toward the audience.
The first restoration looks a little like Garcias and Doumergues in that theres no cover. The second restoration looks like Doumergues. The final restoration looks almost like Doumergues, only not as clean IMHO. However, the retention-of-vision idea he uses is a nice touch. On a side note, after the first restoration, you can optionally show both sides of the card as a convincer. Incidentally, this is an idea I played around with many years ago, but decided not to use it because it felt a little too cozy. As an acquitment, it got the job done, but just didnt seem strong enough for me. Your opinion might differ.
The card is not examinable immediately after restoring the final piece. If you want to hand the card out as a souvenir, you must tear one of the quarters off. Sound familiar? Thats because the approach is similar to a popular clean-up for Ben Harris Hoodwinked. Its a simple and convenient way of dealing with the problem, but might not sit well with some performers. Especially if you believe its an odd thing to restore a card, only to rip it up again at the finish. Tanner offers some justification for this, but his rationale might not be strong enough for you. Some would even view it as a bit contrived. On the other hand, you might feel that its not an issue at all, or that you can easily fox your way around it. I wont go further into the rights and wrongs of his ploy, but Ill say this - the dirty card is in a condition that allows you to go straight into a card warp routine. Theres also an extra piece to ditch at the end, but you can easily do that while retrieving another object from your pocket.
If youre worried about angles, they are no better or worse than any other routine.
There are two extra pieces involved (I hesitate to call them gimmicks), but this might not matter to you. I like the way he steals these pieces into play at the outset. Not a new idea, but still a good one.
I wont comment too much on production quality or his teaching skills, since Im only working from a beta. According to Tanner, this will be improved in the final version. The beta suffers from poor lighting, fuzziness, and no performance.
Is this worth buying? It depends on how much you like this category of effect. If youre jaded and hoping to find new work, youll be disappointed. On the other hand, if youre really into this sort of thing and want to see what others are thinking about the plot, then this might be worth adding to your growing collection. My view is that piece-by-piece torn and restored card routines are highly idiosyncratic. They are constructed to fit the needs, desires, and tastes of individual performers.
In this review, I have laid out all the facts about the trick as I personally see them. You will need to decide for yourself whether its worth buying or not. Youll only regret your purchase if you dont know what youre getting into or why.