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Marc Lavelle & Martyn Rowland: The Changeling Review

One DVD, enough "stuff" to make four gimmicks, over 90 minutes and $30 bucks. Is it gem or is it rubble? Stay tuned to find out.

Effect

Visually (or not) change one bill into another bill.

Method

The method relies on a very simple gimmick that you'll have to construct. It'll take about 20 or so minutes to build, but it's a one time thing (until the gimmick wears out over time). The gimmick is very deceptive and looks great when complete. It works extremely well, and there are a huge variety of ways you can effect the change. In order to make the gimmick, you'll need to sacrifice three bills/notes.

If you're changing, for example, a $1 to a $5, you'll need to sacrifice a $1 and two $5 bills. So you're total investment is $11 bucks. Also, in the above example, one of the $5's and the $1 are permanently gone. You'll not be able to get them back. The other $5 can be spent if you get in a pinch. Of course, make sure you disassemble the gimmick first. Personally, I built my gimmick onto $1,000,000 dollar bills. I had to sacrifice two of them and a single $1 bill. That way, I'm only out a buck.

However, it depends on the routines you're going to perform. If you're going to borrow a bill and do an effect with their money, then you'll have to make your gimmick with real money. This gimmick can be made to change any bill to any other bill even if they're two different colors and/or sizes. It can also be made to turn a lottery ticket, check, blank paper or anything else into a bill/note.

You'll also be taught three different routines. Live performances and studio performances are given. In all three effects, the magic happens in the spectator's hands. They cleverly constructed to allow the magic to happen in the spectator's hands without them discovering the gimmick.

Ad Copy Integrity

The ad copy is 100% accurate. In fact, the only thing that's a little off is a place where they undersold it. Here's the quote from the effect called Note-Possible: "A signed, borrowed note changes in the spectators hand for a lesser value note (or coupon etc) as a kicker, their signed note appears in your (card to) wallet!" Notice that in parenthesis, it says, "card to." You actually don't need a card-to-wallet wallet to make the bill/note appear in your wallet.

Product Quality

The DVD is very well produced. The menu is very easy to navigate and has a "main menu" and Prev/Next link on each page. It's pretty well lit, well mic'd (with one exception) and well explained. The only place where the audio was a little low was one section toward the end of the DVD where they were going over some bonus ideas. Even then, it was minor, and simply turning up the volume solved the problem.

The construction of the gimmick and the teaching in general is very well done. You'll learn several different ways to cause the change to happen. All of the effects are very well explained, and you'll have no problem learning what you need to learn to perform these effects and use this gimmick.

Also, they included a little "special something" needed to construct the gimmick. You're given enough of them to make four different gimmicks. Also, these "special somethings" are reusable. So if you ever disassemble your gimmick, you'll be able to reuse the "special somethings" for future gimmicks you may make. In other words, you'll always have enough of them to make 4 gimmicks, forever.

Final Thoughts

If you like the effect and/or the visual nature of the change, you'll love this DVD, and more importantly, you'll use the gimmick. It's a very clever idea that can be performed surrounds, and can be carried with you for anytime/anywhere performances. If you don't mind the extra cost of "sacrificing" the needed bills to make the gimmick (and you liked the effect), you'll definitely want to pick this up.

Final Verdict:
5 Stars with a Stone Status of GEM!

24 Comments

  • John Owen says:

    Here in the UK you have to pay £20 or so for the trick then £30 or so to make the gimmicks,I was almost tempted,but have bought instead XAct Mike Kirby, JB Magic,whilst 20% off over Easter,Jeff`s reviews are always bang on,this looks good but still not sure

    • Jeff Stone says:

      @John – Thanks for the comment. You might consider changing a five-pound note into an American $1 bill. Then it wouldn’t cost you as much. Also, you could do a presentation about how much money loses its value when you “travel to The States.” 🙂

  • Rob says:

    Hi Jeff, I just received “changeling” from Penguin. I bought it because the trailer looked great.
    I asked the seller if the gimmick would work with the new Canadian polymer bills. They answered i n the affirmative. However, an extra set of directions was made available to me with extra special instructions to use for the plastic bills.
    Theses bills don’t hold a fold well at all and I will have to perform some “surgery” to make it work. So the ad copy that the gimmick works with all bills is a bit misleading. Also the fact it will cost me at least an extra $20 (2X$5 and a tenner). We don’t have one or two dollar bills anymore in Canada.
    I will construct the gimmick and see if it works smoothly.
    I appreciate your review. I think I would have had second thoughts if I had read it before purchasing.
    I guess I could construct out of US cash but that would look kinda suspicious

    • Jeff Stone says:

      @Rob – Thanks for the post. I never new about these plastic bills until just a few weeks ago. So I wonder if the creator was unaware of them as well. Also, in the ad copy, when they say “any bill” to me that means that it doesn’t matter the size, color or currency which is all true. The plastic bills are a new thing that throw a wrinkle into all this, but I really don’t think the ad copy was meant to be misleading. Regarding the extra cost incurred by using the bills, I would assume that most people who saw they trailer would assume that it would cost at least 5 plus 10 because the trailer shows him turning a 10 to a 5. So the assumption is that you would have to supply at least that.

      I don’t think that people expected the DVD to come with a fiverr and a tenner, so to me it makes sense that the customer would have to provide at least that much. So the way I see it, the only “hidden” cost is the extra fiverr (or tenner – depending on which way you make the gimmick) that you need to make the gimmick. Hopefully that helps. Also, I’ve got some plastic money heading my way, so I’ll start considering it in future reviews since I’ll have some to play with.

      Lastly, U.S. magicians use English Pennies for copper silver routines all the time. We use Chinese coins as well, and I assume that everyone in England who does Copper/Silver/Brass is using an American Half Dollar. So using foreign currency for an effect doesn’t seem suspicious to me at all. I think it would be totally legit for me (an American) to show a British five pound note and change it into a 20 Euro. It’s just about finding the right presentation. I could take a five pound note and turn it into a 20 pound note, and make some comment about how “funny” British money is. Then do the effect.

      I see no reason why you couldn’t do that with a USD $1 and $5, etc.

      Hopin’ I’m helpin’,

      Jeffro

      • Daniel Dee says:

        Of course, British fivers are also plastic now – just came in a coupla months ago, so interesting to see Marc’s take on that!

    • Daniel Dee says:

      I never worry about using foreign money – I’m in England. I just make up some patter about ‘I discovered this really strange thing about American money’ or whatever. It’s infinitely variable!

  • Martin Lester says:

    @Rob

    Remember you don’t have to use bills can be lottery tickets or newspaper

    I personally think this is the best item I have purchased this year and in the UK it cost me a lot more to make up!

    @Jeff glad you gave it 5 Stars well worth it PS: were do you get the $1000 bill?

    Regards

    Martin

    • Jeff Stone says:

      @Martin – They’re Million dollar bills. I got mine on eBay. Just search for Million Dollar Bills, and you should find them. Sorry. I thought I mentioned that in the video.

  • Rob Butcher says:

    I love rhe fact that this seems to work better than “Bill Flash revealed.”

    Often the claim that a switch works with all bills simply means that it works for Sterling, US dollars and Euros. Plastic notes just make you work harder. (our own £5 is made from plastic in a couple of years time.)

    I’m looking forward to getting one later this week. I’m UK based but don’t mind trying this out with “cheaper” $1and $5 bills. A little patter always resolves the fact I’m not using sterling in the restaurants.

    Bill switches always need extra cash – even Patrick Page’s “Easy Money” needed 4x bait, 4xswitch bills back in the 1960’s.

  • John Owen says:

    You have all convinced me I will order it,

  • Grandpa Chet Cox says:

    I am still waiting for the version where I can fold a refrigerator and unfold it to make a Prius.

  • Bob Tobias says:

    Jeff,

    Firstly, it’s great to have you back!

    Secondly, absolutely brilliant using a $1M bill both to reduce your investment and increase the visual impact.

    Now, my questions. As presented, it looks like you always start with a folded bill and in an instant wind up with a different folded bill that can be unfolded. Does the bill have to start out folded? Also, when the effect is over, can the final bill be given to the spectator, either to keep or for examination? I’m concerned that this routine has you start with something that looks almost but not entirely normal and ends with having to get the final bill out of play.

    It may not (should not?) be an issue with proper audience management and just want a sense of what is needed.

    And, back to the fake bills. I have a huge supply on hand and have been using them for various things for a while. They work great as standalone objects but aren’t quite right when doing switches because of a difference in texture. Have you found any, among the myriad available on eBay, that resemble the cloth used to make US currency?

    And finally, thank you for your continued efforts to raise the bar in magical merchandise.

    Bob

    • Jeff Stone says:

      @Bob – Thanks for the comment.

      1) The bill must start out folded.
      2) The final bill cannot be handed out.
      3) The fake bills don’t need to match the texture of a real bill for this to work.

      Hopefully that helps.

      Jeffro

  • Bob Tobias says:

    Thanks. I suspected it had those limitations and you saved me $30. Much appreciated, as always.

    I agree that in this effect, where the spectator doesn’t get to touch anything the texture may not matter. However, in others where I let “them” hold the bill I would prefer if it felt more like a real one. That’s why I was asking if you had experience with different paper qualities.

    I’ll see if I can find the name of a bill switch I’ve been using so you can review it if you like. It starts with the bill open and displayed on both sides, changes twice (I go from $1 to $10 to $1M) and ends handing the final bill to a spectator (without any switch) (but with an easy-to-do steal). (Hope I didn’t just say too much.)

    • Jeff Stone says:

      @Bob – As always, thanks for being a part of the discussion. Regarding texture, I think you may be over-worried about it. In effects where I hand out a million dollar bill, nobody has ever said, “Hey that doesn’t feel like a real bill.” It doesn’t matter. They know it’s not real. If it were, I wouldn’t be giving it away. The whole idea is that you’re changing one thing to another: a blank piece of paper (one texture) to a $100 bill (another texture), a blank check (one texture) to a $50 bill (another texture), etc.

  • Marcus Yeo says:

    Can we contain it in a wallet, so I can perform whenever?

  • Daniel Cochren says:

    Thanks Jeff. Per your review, just might get this one. As you explained it can be done with other paper objects, wouldn’t have to waste $ to get the same effect, right? Gives me thought for lots of fun possibilities…..especially if you know of a special occasion coming up (such as a birthday, etc., perhaps changing an older newspaper date to the current birthday date?). Like flexibility. Well done with promoting the product, and as always, honest and to the point.
    Do they provide instructions for card-to-wallet, or do we rely on other known methods?

    Thanks again.

    • Jeff Stone says:

      @Daniel – Thanks for the post. It definitely works with any kind of paper. As for card to wallet. I think they covered some basics, but I don’t quite remember.

  • Alan says:

    I like it! I have a fire wallet that you can do a card to wallet with it also. So with this I could do the money to wallet and open the wallet with the fire and poof there is there money!

  • Dave B says:

    This is another one that went in the drawer after one go. Cost more than the trick to make up. Not examinable (although it can be exchanged with a bit of pointless business and I do hate moves without a point). It is up there with the cigarette through coin. The only possible explanation is that it is a gimmicked note and guess what. It is right for some I am sure but where is the mystery.

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