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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » HN Review 12: Theater of the Mind – Barrie Richardson (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Harvey Nerzof
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HN Review 12: Theater of the Mind – Barrie Richardson

Hermetic Press has always taken pride in producing only the very best books on mentalism: Waters's Mind, Myth & Magick, Lesley's Paramiracles and works by Phil Goldstein. For years we wanted to bring out a book by Barrie Richardson, and when we did it was an instant success, selling out three printings within a year. In a recent poll, Theater of the Mind showed up on a number of lists of the ten best magic books of all time!

1999 recipient of the Psychic Entertainers Association award for creativity, and with over fifty years of professional performance behind him, Barrie Richardson has gathered together 53 of his best mental routines, most with complete presentations, for this large volume of baffling experiences. In Theater of the Mind you will find page after page of fresh, practical material, tested and perfected before thousands of audiences; astonishing feats that use only ordinary items, and few of them; entertaining mental experiments that involve the whole audience, that pack small and play big, that exploit a devilish combination of simplicity and cleverness. What you will discover in Barrie Richardson's Theater of the Mind is a wealth of professional material at a pauper's price. 320 pages in hardcover.


Big book from Stephen Minch’s Hermetic Press, you will surely find something to use. At least I did, courtesy of “Pencil Pusher”.

There are regrettably a lot of magic tricks with cards, envelopes, billets etc. which constitute the bulk of the book – do not except cutting edge techniques or revolutionary mentalism methods.

Interesting solution for the Berglas “Any card at any number” problem, even though I would have liked him to lay out all the cards arrangements, instead of leaving part of the work to the reader!

Overall rating: very good

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I just recently got this book and am very pleased with it. The routines are incredible and include some great presentations as well. I do not perform much mentalism, but I found at least six things to add to my current repertoire. Definitely one of my top ten books!

The aspirant should acquire the resolve to explore and expand his talents to the best of his ability. With a thorough commitment to quality comes a sense of accomplishment and unique satisfaction.

John Carney
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Flat-out great book. Tons of usable material. Definitely a modern classic.
Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
Scott F. Guinn
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There are regrettably a lot of magic tricks with cards, envelopes, billets etc. which constitutes the bulk of the book – do not except cutting edge techniques or revolutionary mentalism methods.

I don't think this is regretable at all. Like Osterlind, Webster, Kreskin and most successful WORKING mentalists, Barrie includes magic in his mentalism performances. This is an outstanding book with many usable effects for both the magician and the mentalist.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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This is a terrific book with lots of great ideas. I especially agree with Scott's comments about it being for those who combine magic & mentalism in their performance.
Ed Oschmann
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All I can say is that I'm not a mentalist by any stretch of the imagination, but I really like this book! Tricks aside (which they are very good) he has an excellent prose style that is very engaging. His close-up solution for the any card at any number is genius. I use this constantly in my close-up set. Worth the price of the book in my opinion.
By this book! Ed (a finger-flicker) Oschmann
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I think you could put together at least one or two stage and parlour mentalism shows from TOTM without having to touch a deck of cards (although you would be wise to use some of his presentation ideas from the "card tricks").

I return to TOTM often for new ideas regarding all the classic tools of mentalism.


Iain Moran
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I had the pleasure of seeing Barrie lecture while he was in the UK a couple of years ago. I saw several of the effects performed, and bought the book instantly. It is filled with lots of ingenious ideas and routines, and although mentalism is not my main interest, I found the book totally fascinating, and found it hard to put down. His Bill In Lemon is one of the best I have seen.

And if like me you are interested in The Card At Any Number plot, Barrie has several versions, which are real foolers. In fact when he performed the effect here in Manchester, the entire room of Magicians were totally stunned, and had no clue whatsoever.

I also had the opportunity of spending a little time with him, and he is one of the nicest people you would ever wish to meet.

What are you waiting for? Go and buy this Book!!!!!!
Robert Sixx
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I agree, this is an Excellent Book -- well worth the money!
Catch me on Twitter @RobertSixx or Facebook -- Robert Sixx
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Wonderful. Wonder full.

"I use my five illusions to create the sense I'm useful to six."

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Of all the books on mentalism and magic in my collection, "Theater of the Mind" ranks among the very best. What I especially like is that Richardson doesn't just describe effects and the mechanics for doing them, which many books do and leave at that, but he also offers complete presentation scripts combining engaging storytelling and theatrical elements that enhance the entertainment value of the effects. Even if you don't do mentalism, the creativity, thoughfulness and craft evident in his work and his respect for his audience offer a model for other magical genres. Like Ted Lesley and Max Maven, I hope he'll do a video or two.

We shall not cease from exploration/And the end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time. (TS Elliot)
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Profile of Gary
Truly excellent book and one that I return to again and again.
"I can see clearly now, the brain has gone"
- Anon
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I finaly got around to purchasing this, and like the original reviewer, I too have found a great friend in Pencil Pusher.

( Try it with a fork... Prongs in the palm... A natural lead into a bend routine)
Caleb Wiles
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This is one of my favorite books of all time. The bill in lemon routine is absolutely brilliant. If you're interested, I just posted a video review of this on my blog:

Check out my Main Event project (DVD or Download).

"Magicians, stop what you're doing right now and pick this up!" - John Guastaferro

"Caleb Wiles is the real deal!" - David Williamson

" very highest recommendation." - John Carey
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