Mental Playground Production: Reality Check by Michael Paul - Full Review

Discussion in 'Product Questions and Reviews' started by y2john, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. Here is my review of a newly released project from Michael Paul and 'Mental Playground Productions'.

    Effect/Product - Reality Check

    Creator/Performer - Michael Paul

    Company - Mental Playground Productions

    Format - Available in download form as Mov files, will also be available as a DVD

    Available -

    Price - 25 Dollars for the complete 'Reality Check', or can purchase each effect from within for 9.99 Dollars each

    Reality Check:

    This is a new project/release from Michael Paul, containing 3 pieces... Phantom, Atomic 2.0, and UVAC.

    The downloads themselves:

    Before going into detail about the pieces within etc, i'd like to start with the actual downloads themselves.
    Firstly the quality is exceptional, it really is very good, with clear picture and audio, good camera work, excellent presentation, all combining to make for a fantastic product.
    Excellent work in this regards, easily one of the best vid downloads i've ever come across.

    PS - That start-up sequence is just killer, I love it.

    PSS - Just to let others know that the files for the download version come in at a total of just over 830mb.


    Phantom - A coin vanish

    Ok, saying this is simply a 'coin vanish' is not really doing this justice, or giving you nearly enough info as to what this actually is... but basically it is a coin vanish.
    What MP has done is take a very old gimmick/idea, and come up with multiple handlings that breath new life into it. Yes, there IS a gimmick in play, but what this allows is for some truly astonishing vanishes that really do look unbelievable.

    I have to admit that I am not exactly fond of having gimmicks for a simple coin vanish, but at the same time can see how these simply would not be doable without something to help along, so the tradeoff of having to have something extra is just how incredible these look.

    So you know that there is something extra needed, but don't go thinking this is some complicated hook-up that is gonna get in your way, limit your movement, take up pocket space and the like... it won't.
    You can wear what you like, even be naked if you so wish, and you'd still be able to utilize this... of course ditching whilst naked may be uncomfortable as there's not many hiding places, but it CAN be done... though admittedly I have not tried myself.

    One thing you should know though, and that's that MP teaches this whilst making use of a certain coin gimmick... now this CAN be done with just a normal coin (though this is not covered), but to do it exactly as taught you will need to have a specific gimmick... PM Michael Paul if you have any questions in this regard.

    So what you getting with this is a new handling for an old idea/gimmick that allows for some of the most visually appealing and strong coin vanishes possible.


    Not difficult at all really, it will take practice just like anything in this art, but I cannot see anyone having any problems with being able to pick this up.
    I'd rate it as easy.


    Very visual

    Ease of use

    Takes up next to no pocket space whilst not in use

    Well routined

    No clothing restrictions


    Not immediately clean

    Not actual magic, I was severely disappointed to have not been witness to the coin thieving fairies... the tears are still trickling down my cheek


    'Insane' would be one way to describe this, 'Impossible' another, 'Crazy' would also be a good choice of word... whatever way you look at it, Phantom is a wickedly visual and astonishing coin vanish that others truly won't see coming.

    Very cool.

    Atomic 2.0 - Read on to find out exactly what this is... but in a word AMAZING!

    This is an evolved look at what was first brought to us within 'Show No Mercy', but here it has been refined and fine tuned, aswell as having formed some variations.

    At it's most basic this is a production, vanish, then reproduction... and what this will do is give what I would consider one of the greatest openers for a close-up/walkaround performer that there is.
    Now that may be a bold statement, but this truly deserves such praise.

    Multiple versions are taught, but there are really 2 main versions, one being the fireball candy one, the other the lifesaver mint version.
    Now don't think that this is limited to just those 2 sweets as it's most certainly not, but the fireball candy is the best sweet for version one due to the routining (it includes fire... so fireball candy - fire... you get it right?!?), and the same goes for the lifesaver version, the lifesaver being the most well suited for the routine.

    The effect is the production of the sweet, followed by the sweet vanishing from within it's wrapper, as it vanishes it appears within your mouth.
    Now my words may not make it sound too thrilling, but just trust me on this, this is sooo fun to perform, it gets a laugh, it genuinely surprises them, and is just such a cool effect.
    It does not require talking, so can be done in loud environments, is an attention getter, and unique.

    So with all the praise and good things im saying there surely must be some points that are not so perfect... well yes and no.
    Yes because these are not impromptu... No because who cares, the set-up is minimal and the reset basically instant.


    Not difficult, but as with all effects, will require practice.



    Great Attention getter

    Unique and fun

    Basically instantly reset

    Multiple versions

    Not limited to fireball candy and lifesavers


    Not impromptu

    Lifesaver version requires a gimmick (though easily obtainable and cheap)

    As with 'Phantom', those fairies did not come and spread the joy of magical dancing happiness dust... come on, where's the REAL magic?!?
    At this rate im gonna be scarred for life :(


    Fantastic idea, fantastic effect, fantastic routining and handling, FANTASTIC!

    UVAC - Ultra Visual Ambitious Card aka the 'Hannah Montanna' effect

    This is MP's full ambitous card routine, and what a routine it is... it has a nice flow, has been wonderfully thought through and rotined, and has some cool phases.
    Among the phases is a nice visual rise of a card from the center to the top, where the card makes it's journey visually. An instant rise of a card, and when I say instant I really mean INSTANT (For those who have seen Rannie Raymundos unpublished instant rise move... well this is just like that, so in a word FANTASTIC!), and a seemingly no move signature vanish bringing the card back to it's original state.

    I am not too keen on the ambitiuous card plot, and I see too many performances that just drag on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and... you get the idea, and have no sense of building to a climax or are simply a mish mash of card rising phases plastered together and performed until the specs are literally scratching ot there eyes, chewing through there cheeks and screaming for someone to come and castrate them for that would be immense pleasure compared to seeing the card come up to the top one more time.
    Well I can safely say that MP's brings none of these feelings, infact it's the first ambitious card routine i've seen for some time that I actually enjoyed watching, and the first for a VERY long time that has techniques within it's phases that I will utilize.


    Hmmmm, this will depend on how well you can handle cards... there is nothing really knuckle busting within the routine, but practice will be required just as with anything in magic/mentalism.
    I know im a bit vague on difficulty levels, but it's hard to judge as everyone is different and everyone will learn at a different pace etc.


    Well thought out routine

    Just the right length

    Great phases

    The first routine of this kind I have enjoyed in quite a while



    My cuppa tea has got cold... oh you mean about this piece, ok, sorry bout that... erm... hmmm... well you see... meh, can't find any.


    For me this is as follows - BEST AMBITIOUS CARD ROUTINE... PERIOD!

    For everyone else - You'll be getting a very clever, well routined, visual ambitious card routine, or at least something to add to your existing routine, something which im sure many will do as MP's one is simply brilliant.


    The teaching throughout is great, it's 1-on-1 with Michael Paul as he takes you through the material every step of the way, covering the handling,mechanics, routining, subtleties and everything in between.
    I like the relaxed atmosphere, it doesn't come across forced or unnatural, it has a personal and friendly feel.

    Excellent in this regard, you'll have no problems understanding and MP covers everything you'll need to get the most out of the material.

    Great stuff.

    Overall overall:

    Reality Check is a fantastic project, bringing you 3 very different and workable pieces that you will be able to use in the real world.
    Michael Paul is a real world performer, he uses this material in paid gigs, this stuff was born and raised in the trenches, and so you can be sure that this stuff works and works well.

    I cannot recommend this enough, the material is killer, the production and presentation is killer, Ted Bundy's a killer... but that's a different story... but back to what I was saying, oh yeah, this stuff is KILLER!

    PS - For those who do not want to kill there spectators... here is another way to look at it, in a more fluffy duffy outlook - This material is just fantasticarooni, the production and presentation is just delicious, like little chocolate cup cakes, and overall is just a heart warming, cuddly and wonderlicious experience!

    Excellent stuff, highly recommended!
  2. looks really really good.awesome review!
  3. Can you compare the rise to RIOT? I watched the demo and it looks good however he is using what looks like a yellow post-it note. Can you do that with a selected signed card that smooth with a borrowed deck?


  4. The answer is YES. This rise is completely un-gimmicked. The post it note does not aid in the rise. It is simple to mark the position of the selected card in the deck for the spec. The card is a selection, and is signed.

    Brian Rodgers
    Mental Playground Productions

  5. WOW.. Can you have the card sticking out of the deck as well? So they can see the back of it as it rises? If so this seems like it would be so much better then RIOT and Fallen. Can you please compare them :)

  6. Yup.

    You could be butt naked on a beach, completely surrounded and be handed a plastic, beat up deck of cards and a post it note...

    And you could still visually animate the card right to the top slowly and smoothly.

    And it's dead easy.

    ... magic is so cool.
  7. Altrez, you could, but using the post it note gives you a distinct magical advantage. This is one of those moves that will have people screaming and running... it's pretty sick. No funny moves before it makes it's way all the way to the top. It just melts through the pack, and you turn over the top card. Easy as that.
  8. "Thank you for your purchase. Please follow the instructions below to download your file."

    Ok I just paid for it and its downloading :) I hope its as good as the DEMO makes it out to be..

  9. It actually has a much prettier visual effect then what you see on camera!! If you need any help with it, or have any questions, pm me. You'll also get the no move sig vanish, the instant face up phase and a jam session with Matt Mello. Enjoy.

  10. Yea honestly the rise looks 100 times better in person. When you do it in the mirror you will see how sick it looks. When Michael first performed it for me I couldn't help but smile. It just looks so good...and it's completely impromptu. What more could you ask for?

    Matthew Mello
  11. #11 altrez, Nov 24, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2008
    The rise is impromptu...

  12. #12 BRodgers, Nov 24, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2008

    Altrez - Thanks for your comments. We are happy we could bring a workable un-gimmicked card rise to the masses. Also, just so there is no confusion, other parts of the routine are not "impromptu", which need a little something extra, but it is something that you already have.
  13. First of all its Altrez secondly let me just state that this company is a true class act. The ACR is top notch and the UN-GIMMICKED card rise is so very awesome. You can buy this effect with no worries what so ever.

    I am so very please with this company that my words escape me..

  14. wow. Thanks for the awesome compliment!!
  15. Great review!

    That was one of the best reviews I've read in a long time. I enjoyed every sentence. Great pleasure buying this product.

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