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  • Writer's pictureMadison Hagler

Cylinder and Coins - Joshua Jay

Joshua Jay recently released a routine that has been in the making for ten years: His Cylinder and Coins routine. Like most releases nowadays, this has stirred up some drama on various forums. I’ll be sure to bring all of that juicy drama up as we go through the review. 

First and foremost, what do you get? Joshua calls this a kit and I see why. Let’s look at the individual pieces you receive in the kit and discuss them separately. 

Triad Coins - The biggest thing with this release is that Vanishing Inc has created Joshua’s famous Triad Coins in Morgan Dollar size. It is made with replica Morgans to cut down on the cost, but it is a well made gimmick that operates smoothly. The Triad Coins allow for a super clean appearance and disappearance of three coins. Traditionally, cylinder and coins routines are heavily based on sleight of hand. Thanks to the Triad Coins, a large part of the sleight of hand has been removed entirely giving you cleaner vanishes. The only “problem” with them is that they are replicas, so they shine brighter than most coins and something generally appears “off” about them. Most audiences have never seen a real Morgan dollar, so it isn’t really an issue, but magicians will definitely notice the peculiar appearance of them. The kit includes a cloth used to shine silver so that you can keep the coins shining, but I’m wondering if some black patina on them would make them read more “real.” One other thing to point out with these; since they are replicas, they “talk” a lot as you slide them around. Be mindful of that when performing.

Stack Gimmick - This is primarily what is responsible for any cylinder and coins routine. Joshua’s stack is magnetic and includes a fourth, magnetic coin which can rest on top of the stack and be removed during the routine to show the singularity of the coins in the stack. This has caused some controversy on various magic forums and Facebook groups. Joshua makes three coins disappear, but the observant spectator will notice four coins in a stack on the table. Joshua calls this an “Artistic Distortion” and ensures people that his audiences have never noticed. Is that true? It’s hard to say. They may have noticed, they may just not have been rude and commented on it. Admittedly, I didn’t notice it the first time I watched the performance, but I did notice it the second time I watched it. I guess part of this depends on how close your audience will be. The good news is: you don’t have to use the fourth coin on the stack. It is included in case you want to use that subtlety, but it is by no means necessary. Since it’s optional, I’m not sure why so many people are complaining about four coins being in the stack. If you don’t like that aspect… don’t use it. I won’t be. As a side note: I noticed my stack was only held together with putty, so the stack came apart very easily. I removed the putty and super glued everything in place and all is well. I’m hoping mine was only like that because it was a pre-release copy. I can’t imagine that they would use putty to hold it together for the mass market. 

Rings - You receive two size 10 black rings. I don’t want to say too much about them. Both are ungimmicked rings, but one has certain properties which come in handy for the routine. If you can’t wear that ring size or want a different color or style, there are plenty of cheap options on Amazon. This is one of my favorite changes to the routine because I’ve always felt the piece cork was odd and always required explaining.

Shot Glasses - You receive two empty shot glasses that have been specially designed to fit in a rolled up bill. They can be filled with a liquid of your choosing. This liquid is contained within the glass so that there’s no chance of a mess. On the download, Joshua states you get one empty one and one that’s already filled with brown “whisky” liquid. Both of mine came empty. Perhaps it’s because I received an early copy of the release to review, or perhaps they decided not to ship the glasses with liquid in them. Along with this you also receive a special tool to fill the glass and a multitude of plugs to stop the liquid from coming out. These plugs work well, but Joshua advises gluing it in place to make sure it doesn’t come out. This seems like a good idea. I have filled one of my glasses, and I’ve noticed it has a small leak around the rim of the glass. It isn’t much, but when you’re using dyed liquid, even a drop stains anything it touched. I’m sure it’s a defective unit, and perhaps it just developed a crack during shipping, but I think it’s still worth pointing out. Luckily, I have another glass I can use. I saw people complaining online about the color of the liquid in the glass… good news for them: you fill it with your own colored liquid. So if you don’t like the color Joshua uses, choose a different color. I’ve also seen some people saying they don’t like the shot glass ending… then don’t use it! You can do any traditional cylinder and coins routine with this kit if you don’t use the shot glass, so if that’s not your shot of tea (see what I did there?) then don’t do it. 

Magnets/Glue Dots - The dollar holds its cylinder shape thanks to a few magnets in the corners of it. This requires you to add the magnets to your own dollar, but that is an easy task. This is another point that has caused weird arguments in the magic community. People have made comments like, “I don’t understand why the dollar holds its shape. That makes no sense.” Again, this is what Joshua calls an “Artistic Distortion” which essentially means it’s something that happens to make the routine more artistic even if it means it doesn’t quite make logical sense. Here’s the thing: if you don’t like the dollar bill holding itself in a cylindrical shape, then use paper clips to hold it in place, or pull out a roll of tape and tape the bill together. Again, this is something Joshua does to keep the routine flowing and not slow down an unimportant moment, but if you feel the routine suffers from this lack of logic, then add it in however you see fit! The whole point of this is that it is a “kit” that you can pick and choose what pieces to use. Personally, I think the magnets are best option and it keeps the routine flowing, so that’s how I’ll be using it. 

Coin Purse - You also receive an

ungimmicked coin purse to remove the coins from at the start of the routine. I thought this was a nice touch.

3D Print File - You also received a file to 3D Print your own hold out for the routine. They don’t include a holdout because not everyone will want it or ever use it. If you have a 3D printer, you can print one for yourself. If you don’t have a 3D printer, there are several services online which will print something for you. 

Joshua’s Routine - Finally, you receive a link to a streaming video which teaches Joshua’s signature routine. As always with Joshua, it is top quality instruction. 

That’s everything you receive with the kit! It’s $175 for all of it. It’s a lot of money to spend on one trick, but it’s a routine that you can edit and change to suit your own needs, meaning anyone could use it. 

I wanted to bring up one important point which I think is the biggest issue I have with the routine: where do you perform it? Is this a close up routine? Well not really because if they are sitting at the table with you, they will most definitely see the shot glass prematurely. Is this a stage routine? Well not really because the props are too small to be seen at the back of the house without a projector. It seems the best place for this would be a parlor performance. But you couldn’t perform this at a venue with raked audience seating because the height of the seats would expose the shot glass prematurely. This means you couldn’t even perform this in any of the main rooms at the magic castle. That said, if you cut the shot glass finale, this would work in just about any situation. So as a worst case scenario, you may just have to cut the finale depending on the space you’re in. This is definitely the biggest thing to consider when performing this routine. What would be the best environment? Will they see the shot glass prematurely? If you have an environment you frequently perform in that you think this would work in, it’s well worth picking up. If you only perform for people casually in your home around the card table, then it may require a bit of extra distance/finessing/rearranging of the group before you’re ready to do this one. 

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