I hadn’t heard anything about this and only knew Mark Leveridge by name, so I went in to this DVD without any preconceptions.
Restaurant and hotel work was the cornerstone of my professional work for over 10 years having worked restaurants and hotel lounges in 3 cities during that time. I have certainly read much of the material that was written specifically about this area of work. I’ve also watched several of the videos that have been produced over the years. In my opinion, Mark’s DVD has to be the best of all the material I have previously watched.
Mark is enjoyable to watch, both with his presentations and his talking to the camera. The DVD starts with Mark discussing preparation, choosing material, performing conditions and much more. He talks about the venue he performs at on a regular basis which is a family hotel. The first 20 minutes or so deals with these details. Then the camera follows Mark as he starts his evening with the first group.
The presentations are performed in front of real people at a hotel that Mark performed at. Regarding the magic - don’t buy this DVD just for the effects. There are some very good routines, but that is not the focus of the DVD. The real focus is the practical advice you can only get from a working pro who has been at it for years.
Back to the magic for a moment. You get to see quite a bit of magic and some of the routines a couple of times. There are a few snags which were intentionally left in and discussed later. After watching the presentations for several groups he sits down with fellow magician, Chris Payne to watch the video we just saw and they talk about the various details of the presentations. They go into detail about approaching tables, covering mistakes, taking control and again, much more.
This first section ends with a discussion from another magician, Stuart Bowie as they talk about other aspects of strolling close-up magic. Again, so much great advice that I wish I had early on in my career.
The second segment is the explanations of the effects. As the copy on the back of the DVD states, the effects are “explained in an entertaining and informal style with Chris Payne.” I tend to find explanations dull on many magic videos, but watching Mark & Chris is like being a fly on the wall watching two friends have a magic session during a Monty Python show. The lead in to each explanation is very funny.
I didn’t realize until after I watched this DVD how much I still had to learn about working in an area I already have a lot of experience in. I never thought I would go back to restaurants or hotels, but after watching Mark I am inspired to jump right in again.
Mark Leveridge’s The Art of Hopping Tables - DVD
Date Added: 07/16/2005 by Steven Pellegrino