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Whit Haydn
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I love the idea of the empowered spectator, especially given this venue. But since that role is given to a spectator usually, I'd add a couple of times where the helper lets others examine the rings as well.

Byt the way, my five ring routine uses two audience members and follows the well-known one can do it, the other can't idea. But I've added an especially spectacular linking near the end for the boy who can't do the trick. That way, he leaves the stage a winner, too.

Mike Taylor
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I agree with most everyone else here that Whit Haydn’s “Four Ring Routine” is the effect that fills the bill for performing with your son in the charity church talent show. I suggest that you follow the script as found in his booklet Whit Haydn’s “Four Ring Routine” and the video or CD by the same title.

If, due to the fact that it is a talent show, you would like to give him a bit more “center stage” in the routine; I would suggest the following. As you come to the conclusion of the Spectator part of the routine [page 14 in the 1986 printing of the routine], after shaking his hand in dismissal, hand him your set of rings (Key plus Single Ring still linked together). Have him rub the rings together while secretly unlinking them, blow on the center, and display the unlinked rings with a flourish! Have him hand the rings back to you and take a final bow on his own, while you gesture for audience applause! You can then conclude the effect with the linking of four rings as per the original routine.

…just a thought that I had!
Whit Haydn
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Well, I would rewrite the script if not using a volunteer from the audience. There would need to be different motivations for why the kid is pretending to keep up. Perhaps the father is being a little too pushy, or the kid was over confident of his ability, or didn't practice as he was supposed to and is just trying to slide by the lesson.

Or perhaps the kid is the magician and is trying to teach the older person. You have to make the audience want to side with the "smartass" trying to keep up, and not with the "teacher."

You have to find a situation in which they would plausibly be on stage going through these motions. "I have been trying to get my son to learn magic. He spends all his time playing computer games. He thinks magic is silly. But I made him practice all week, and now he's going to show you what he learned..." "Could you show me one more time?"

All of the bits and everything that would be done with a spectator can still be done, but the story around them should be changed. The better story would be one that included the audience and made sense of the event in real time--"I wanted to show you guys what my student has been learning..."

The weaker and easier approach is to put the father/son or teacher/student presentation in "story time"--that is, acting as if the father and son were not on stage in front of this particular audience--acting out a little play that supposedly is happening somewhere else or at some other time. That is theatrical story-telling, and I think it is inherently weaker.
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