Chris Philpotts Incandescence; The Love Poem Book Test is another of the latest entries into the growing number of book tests available to the mentalist. Although, by his own admission, he is neither a performing magician or mentalist but, like many, he has recently rekindled a long dormant passion for magic and has created a book test that reflects a keen understanding of the underlying psychology that makes the genre so effective.
While those familiar with book tests will recognize the application of several classic methodologies, Chris has developed some nuances/adaptations not heretofore seen in other tests and which in my estimation qualify as original.
The poems an apparent 155 of them by various authors are spread over the 108 page perfect bound paperback book and each deals with love or a love-related theme. While none of them are likely to garner their author a nomination as poet laureate, they are certainly readable and by their very nature are likely to evoke an emotional response on the part of the participating spectator.
As advertised (and a seen in the demo video) the book is handed to a spectator who is invited to open it at random, select a poem on either of those pages, and concentrate on a word or phrase in the poem. Without handling or looking at the book, the performer proceeds to make a series of successive statements, each of which the spectator confirms is accurate, culminating in the revelation of the chosen word or phrase or even a vivid recounting of the scene described in the final verse of the poem.
The instructions are complete, detailed and easy to understand. The book is a typical paperback size (approximately 5 1/2 X 8 1/2) so although a bit larger than pocket book size it CAN be carried in a jacket pocket for those so inclined. Although I personally deplore what I call the guerrilla magic style of street magic shown in the demo video in which, as opposed to busking, one accosts strangers on the street in order to recruit them as participants, the same procedure is fine when the performer is hired as the strolling/walk-around entertainer at an organized event rather than stopping strangers on the street. However, I recognize that the street magic scenario may have been the only available option for the demo video.
Incandescence is also suitable for stage or platform presentation.
As the author acknowledges, the only drawback to an otherwise outstanding effect is the books lack of post-performance examinability. However, this deficiency can be handled with appropriate audience management, making it best suited for those experienced in a more nuanced performing style who can take it above and beyond the pick a word, got it? the word is xxx level.
Incandescence is clearly well worth the investment of several times its $40 selling price.