I recently bought the Cerberus and David's DVD. I hadnt seen much talk about this set around, so I thought Id throw together a few notes of my own, for whatever they may be worth:
The Cerberus gaff is a genuinely intriguing device. Like everything else of Todds Ive seen, its extremely well designed and made, and is indistinguishable from a normal coin when it needs to be. It can be shown very freely back and front, provoking no suspicion, and each piece comes with an ungaffed duplicate that matches it perfectly.
In terms of function, its a true utility weapon, lending itself very effectively to many of the classic plots of coin magic and encouraging further exploration. Its certainly one of the most versatile pieces in my own collection, and has already pushed my thinking in a number of new directions.
David Neighbors DVD, International Coin Routines, deals extensively with his approach to the Cerberus set. Davids teaching style is highly energetic, and he comes across on the disc as a furiously inventive mind with a deep love of magic. The ideas come thick and fast, and careful attention has obviously been given to the logical development of each escalating series of effects. This is something that has always impressed me about his work. Production values are pretty average for this type of disc (i.e. functional but not slick), and the camera set-up works against Davids misdirection at times. However, the material is strong and the explanations clear.
Its worth mentioning that, while the effects are grouped on the DVD under six headings, two of the sequences consist of three separate routines each, bringing the total up to ten. Heres a brief rundown of the effects:
1) 3-Fly: A very clean international VCA, with the hands staying entirely separate for the first two phases. This features a really nice backfire-style kicker and flows smoothly into two subsequent routines, culminating in an unexpected transfer of all three coins to the performers pocket. Three hard-hitting tricks in one, and a good basic foundation in the use of the gaff.
2) Merlin the Alchemist: This is a really nice sequence, making excellent use of the Cerberus sets visual potential. It starts off with something of a Spellbound flavour, but then veers hard left with some beautiful transformation effects that occur instantly as the coin is lifted from the tabletop at the magicians fingertips.
3) Coins Through Table: Some very creative handling of the gaff here allows specific coins to pass individually. Theres a very pretty backfire ending and double-kicker to clean up.
4) International Matrix Routines: Three effects that work well individually, or flow together very smoothly into a single routine. The classic Matrix concept, performed with a decreasing number of cards and some backfire endings. A terrific lesson in routine structure and another well conceived application of the Cerberus set.
5) Succession Reverse: A different angle on the Matrix idea, with the twist that the Cerberus permits multiple coins to travel simultaneously. One coin joins another, both jump instantly to the third, then all three hop to join the last. Finally, all four coins leap back to their starting positions.
6) Succession Assembly: Again, multiple coins pass simultaneously, but the addition of a backfire into a purse brings a beautiful circularity to the effect.
The Cerberus allows the above effects to be performed without a lot of heavy lifting. A decent CP and FP are pretty much all that are required. All in all, Im really happy with the gaff and disc, and can offer a whole-hearted recommendation of both. http://www.toddlassen.com
for the firstname.lastname@example.org
for the DVD.
A couple of points for the real name crew:
My name is Cy Dethan. Im a freelance writer and editor from England. Before that, I performed magic professionally for three and a half years. I've been studying magic for most of my life, and Im primarily drawn to coin work. Other than being an occasional customer, I have no personal or professional relationships with either David Neighbors or Todd Lassen.