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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricks & Effects » » Rubicon: A full review (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Sealegs
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Rubicon is a $350 Rubik’s cube effect and routine from Greg Wilson. This is a long review to cover all the aspects of what will, for some, be a potentially pricey investment.

Overview:
All in all, this is a really great product and a great routine for the working performer for stage, cabaret or parlour settings. The whole package has been lovingly and thoughtfully put together and should last a lifetime. The $350 price tag might raise a few eyebrows but with the full performance routine being available on YouTube (and elsewhere) the purchaser knows exactly what they are getting in terms of the effect. This means they can make a well-informed judgement as to whether this product offers them value.

The Routine:
The effect has two parts. A Rubik’s cube that has been mixed by a spectator matches one that has been mixed by you. You then solve the spectator’s mixed cube with one hand in front of the audience without having to look while doing it. (Greg does it behind his back with his back facing the audience) No difficult sleights or handling is needed but having said that it is not something that you can perform straight out of the box. The handling that is involved will need some hours of practice and rehearsal invested into it to make it smooth and error free.

What you get:
Two genuine but gimmicked Rubic’s cubes. An additional very well made ‘secret’ something that makes the effect work. (When watching Greg perform this routine, both live and on video, I was totally unaware that this secret something was being employed) A metal credit card sized plate containing a passcode to a series of online steaming instructional videos. And other extra small accessories that can be useful to keep the cubes working well and looking good. All this comes in a very nice presentation box that can double as a practical working container for the props when performing the routine. The whole outfit is slick and stylishly presented.

The Positive Thoughts:
This is a fantastic, quality and classy looking bit of kit. The routine is magically very strong. Not only that but it also makes the performer look way more skilful than they are. (or need be) You don't have to know or learn how to solve the cube to perform the routine.

The online demonstrations of the effect give a full and complete performance of the entire routine and they present a complete and accurate picture of how the routine plays out. This is extremely useful when making a decision about whether the $350 purchase price is a good investment or not.

The props have the look and feel of a product that has been manufactured to a high specification and a lot of thought has been put into the details of the gimmicks and their manufacture.

I really don’t have anything negative to say about the physical product or the routine. It is all, excellent.

Negative thoughts: (all of the following are relatively minor issues and don't prevent the buyer being able to perform the routine)

A very minor quibble:
Some of the advertising unwittingly (I believe) implies that the cube can be passed out to a spectator, mixed, taken back and then directly solved. This is not the case. The 'matching phase' needs to be included before the spectator’s cube can be solved. This point was brought to my attention from another post in another thread. At the time of reading it I thought the person posting was nit-picking and looking for issues to complain about but having reviewed the advertising I can see that they have a valid point, hence me mentioning it here. For most people this isn’t an issue at all as they will do the matching phase of the routine.

[/i]Accessing the videos:[/i]
The instructions come in the form of a number of individual, password protected streaming, online videos. On returning to the videos I was met with a message telling me I had already used my passcode and as a consequence it was now invalid. It appeared I only had a one-time access to the instructions. This was not actually the case. I eventually stumbled across the solution of how to access to videos but it wasn’t immediately obvious.

The instructional videos:
The videos themselves start off fine. The first ones explain the product, show you what you get, and give a bit of history about how the product has been developed. Greg’s teaching in the instructional videos, is pleasantly engaging and enthusiastic but at times it is also really quite hard to follow and in my opinion Greg really does not fair well at all as a teacher of this routine. The biggest issue comes when the routine’s workings start to be explained. Vital bits of information that you need in order to understand what is going on are not explained. This information is only found in the later videos. It appears that this information has been included in the later videos, presumably, when it became apparent that it had been left out from the earlier ones.

Things become more confusing when at one point on one of the videos Greg makes a mistake. Realising the mistake he corrects it. He then makes the same mistake again and corrects it again before getting it right! Greg mentions that he is glad that he made these mistakes as it shows what not to do. In my opinion it would have been much better to re-do that video without these mistakes and then make a separate video showing what common mistakes can easily be made when learning the routine. As it is it creates a moment of confusion in the learning process.

Having said this the viewer is quite able to learn the handling and the routine from the videos but they are a bit of a jumbled mess and the teaching is often unclear and muddled. A thought through, step by step process that methodically takes you through the process and procedure of the routine would be much easier to follow and serve as a much better learning tool. As it is, the videos jump into the explanation seemingly working on the assumption that the buyer already knows how the effect works

Another quibble is that the contents of each of the videos isn’t particularly apparent from their titles. So if you want to review a particular aspect of the handling it’s pot-luck that you’ll pick or find the right video. This issue is made worse by the fact that, as already mentioned, the relevant information in the videos doesn’t necessarily crop up in sequential order.

I also think more time could have been spent on the details of the handling of the ‘one handed solve’. I found several handling issues repeatedly cropped up while practising and rehearsing this sequence. I’m sure others must have had the same, or similar, issues too and some pre-emptive guidance for these issues would have been helpful, especially as this is the trickiest part of the effect to both mentally grasp and physically manipulate. As it was I ended up developing another handling for the one handed solve that dealt with all the issues but I can imagine some people struggling with this.

I also think that the amount of handling practice that is required to be able to perform this has been (understandably from a marketing point of view) deliberately understated in the advertising materials. It's not as easy-peasy as one might think. It's really not difficult but it needs a fair amount of work put into it.

The package & delivery:
For many that preordered, the wait and delivery process was an ordeal but that has been well covered in another thread elsewhere on the Café. My order was dealt with in good time. I placed my order just as the first deliveries were starting to be sent out and I received it in the UK about 2 weeks later. The only inconsequential hiccup I experienced was that the shipping and tracking info only came through after it had been delivered.

Conclusion:
Ideally a product will come to the market with no negatives at all but this is extremely rare. In this case any the negatives mentioned in this review represent minor inconveniences rather than fundamental issues or problems. None of them prevent one from learning the routine. Where there has been an issue (such as missing or confusing info in the instructions) Greg has dealt with it reasonably expeditiously.

As I said at the start of this review, all in all, this is a great product and a great routine for the working performer. The whole package has been lovingly and thoughtfully put together and should last a lifetime. The $350 price tag might raise a few eyebrows but with the full performance routine available on YouTube and elsewhere the purchaser can make an informed judgement as to whether this product offers value for them.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
videoman
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Really great review. I think you covered everything. Thanks!
Sealegs
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Thanks for leaving a comment videoman. I'm a bit surprised that you are the only one to have done so as in the 'Latest and Greatest' section there is a thread about this product covering; the announcement of the release, the pre-orders, the delays with the delivery date and eventual arrival of the product in people's hands and it goes on for 26 pages! (At the time of me writing this)
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
Xcath1
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Excellent review. I find the "latest and greatest" the most frequently used and abused section, I think you were correct to post the review here
TravisNye
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I own Rubicon and at first I was very hesitant due to the price, however it is important for all of us to remember we are not buying the props, gimmick, and I would even goes as far as saying the performance since would should all be creative enough to make every routine unique.How many of us the first bought the vanishing silk and were disappointed the first time we seen a thumb tip. I know I was (a very long time ago of course) but once you learn to use it properly its an amazing effect. We buy the method but that shouldn't even be a concern, what we are truly buying is the "effect". As in what we just seen in the promo is the way the audience perceives it. I understand there are some companies out the who do heavy editing to make their promos look really good and the methods are not practical in the real world at all. But we should all have faith in performers, and creators we can trust like Gregory Wilson. Even knowing Cube3 I will still be adding this to the routine. I for one am happy with the purchase
kevinjanet
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"but with the full performance routine being available on YouTube (and elsewhere) the purchaser knows exactly what they are getting in terms of the effect."

I have been looking on youtube and Vimeo but can only find the promo video for this effect. Does anyone know a link to the full performance?
PatrickGregoire
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Quote:
On Dec 9, 2016, kevinjanet wrote:
"but with the full performance routine being available on YouTube (and elsewhere) the purchaser knows exactly what they are getting in terms of the effect."

I have been looking on youtube and Vimeo but can only find the promo video for this effect. Does anyone know a link to the full performance?


Not sure if the full performance is still available (it once was on Vimeo) but here's my presentation of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6vO-nfTXjQ

It shows you what the effect looks like, uncut (no switches of the cubes as I turn around).
kevinjanet
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Patrick,
that was an awesome performance. VERY well done! I can't believe they weren't throwing hundred dollar bills at you at the end. On the other hand, you live in Canada so they would probably be throwing some kind of bills with moose pictures?
Anyway, thanks so much for the clip!

Kevin
PatrickGregoire
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It was a subdued corporate crowd, we all get them. I appreciate the compliment Kevin, thank you!
Sealegs
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Kevinjanet: It seems that the complete performance video is no longer out there. Smile

The promo video, although cut between several of Greg's performances, still shows the entire effect. (As does the complete performance video that Patrick Gregoire has linked to)

Having said that, neither of these videos shows on camera the moment that the gimmick is in action. I do understand, in a day and age of frame by frame, stop action replay of youtube videos, why the choice has been made to exclude this moment from the promo video. I think it's a sensible decision... but it is also a shame because it does now put a potential purchaser in the position of having to trust someone like me saying 'the moment the gimmick is in action is an innocent, invisible moment' rather than having that as something they experience for themselves.

Unlike TravisNye I don't see why any of us should blindly have faith in any performer or creator such that whatever they happen to be selling, regardless how well made and good it might be, should automatically be considered as something that is suitable for any individual and their particular needs. I think each of us are likely to be the best judge of what might be a good fit for us. And that judgment is best made when we have all the information that is pertinent to us.

That's what I'm trying to do here by providing this review that should hopefully benefit both the potential purchasers and the seller too.




Smile
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
JOurneyjoe
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Can the Cube that is "solved in one hand in under 10 seconds" be handed out before/after for examination?
Thanks in advance for the feedback.
videoman
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Quote:
On Dec 17, 2016, JOurneyjoe wrote:
Can the Cube that is "solved in one hand in under 10 seconds" be handed out before/after for examination?
Thanks in advance for the feedback.


Yes, but it is not necessary to hand it out before and I would advise against it.
But afterwards is totally fine.
PatrickGregoire
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I would advise against doing either of those things. Hand it out before and they might mix it some more, hand it out after and they might mix it and ask you to do it again. Also it kills the flow, just move on.
JOurneyjoe
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Just ordered it. Thanks for the info!
Sealegs
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Both the cubes are genuine Rubik's cubes. They are both gimmicked but the manner in which they are gimmicked doesn't affect how they work and they appear totally normal. Essentially they are totally normal.

You could hand the cube out after the solve and let them keep it if you don't mind that you'd be giving away one of the gimmicked cubes. It's perfectly possible though, with next to no change in the handling, to use an ungimmicked cube for the one handed solve. That way you could hand out a standard cube.

In the instructional video Greg gives an idea as to how to use the gimmicked cube for the solve an hand out a standard cube at the end.

I really can't see what's gained by any of this though. If there's any thought in the spectators' minds that there's something odd about the cubes (which essentially there isn't) then the effect won't have the impact intended. Handing out the cube might be a way to address this but it would be doing so in an ad hoc manner and effectively be too late . It would be dealing with the spectators doubt after the effect has ended rather than within it. It would be better to deal with any doubts that you, as the performer, are creating in the audiences' minds about the genuineness of the cubes during the routine. That way you have the chance of getting maximum impact form the effect at the denouement. This is theatrically much better and more satisfying for everyone.

There's absolutely no reason (or there should be absolutely no reason) for anyone to doubt the genuineness of the cubes. They, after all, mix their's up themselves and both cubes are indeed genuine cubes.

Handing out the cube just before the one handed solve is also completely possible but I think it's ill-advised and completely unnecessary because, following the routine, this is the cube they have just mixed up themselves. I would say that you'd need to be completely confident in your spectator management if you did, for some strange rationale, want to hand the cube out at this point. But more importantly you'd have to ask yourself why you'd want to do this at this point in the routine.

It's hard to tell if questions such as those being asked by JOurneyjoe are being asked to see if the props would fit with their own imagined routine and handling or if it is a fishing expedition for an indication of the method or both. For this reason I am being careful with my descriptions and elaborations while giving all the information needed to make an informed decision on what, for some, could be a hefty outlay.

As I said to someone else in a PM... don't look on this effect as being a game changer for your act. There's few tricks if any that are that. This is a strong routine for the right type of act. If this potentially fits your style and serves a purpose within your show then it might be a good investment for you. But I think it's a good idea to remember that there are plenty of other ways of spending $350 (such as on books, dvd's or lectures) that would potentially bring a much broader return and value for money for many.

Having said that I am more than happy with my purchase and have already used this effect in my show. After one trial with it the jury is still out for me as to whether this effect really serves me and my act... My presentation is still looking to find it's feet. But however this eventually pans out, whether it says in the act or ends up being dropped, will not be down to the props doing. The success, or otherwise, that I do or don't have with this as a fit for my act will be down to me because I knew exactly what effect I was getting.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
MagieLucas
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Thankyou for the very good review,, after thinking about it I think it's something ill end up buying. Ive started to use rubix cubes in my show and I think I'll start using this
algebraic
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I'm very surprised that an item at this price point doesn't come with an instructional dvd. I find it unprofessional to leave a buying customer with an instructional link which could disappear at some point. I'm not impressed.

I'll consider purchasing this item when an instructional dvd is provided.
Alex DLF
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Well, they wanted a way of uploading new videos even after 1 or 2 years after the release.

80's are over ^^
Get yourself the Flap Cards guide : http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/4435

Make sure to check my review website, new reviews coming every week ! http://lesavisdalexis.wix.com/reviews
CartoucheNL
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Next week Gregory Wilson will be lecturing over here in The Netherlands. I really hope he will include this gem, because I would like to see it performed live.
RMV
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I watched Greg perform this live at a lecture about a year ago. I bought and watched him do it a few more times. Even after I had bought it and he had shown me the basics, I was stunned at how clean it looked, even when I knew! My biggest problem was I paid for it on a credit card and it was over the limit my wife set for an alert. Within ten minutes of purchase I was having to exlain such a large purchase. Smile

Been doing magic for fifty years and still can’t fool my bride!

I have been closing with Rubicon and the reactions have made it worth every penny to me.
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