I remember discovering the body.
Lying prostrate before me was the murdered man, savagely dispatched and with grisly efficiency.
At the time, I was in an unfamiliar mansion with lots of long corridors dotted with forbidding doors, each leading off into interesting rooms, some with false walls and secret passageways. I was also surrounded by suspicious characters, one of which was carrying the darkest secret of all deep inside their black heart.
I admit to being intimidated. This was the first time I'd ever been in a situation like this, and it was my job to work out who had killed the unfortunate Mr. Body...
Yes indeed, I remember the first time I played 'Clue' very clearly.
Of course, all of the above took place around a flat piece of folding cardboard with plastic pieces all over it, but my youthful imagination took me deeper and filled in the details. It made it seem very real. Murder mysteries have a way of arresting your attention.
In fact, I'd be very surprised if the first few paragraphs of this week's blog post did not effectively capture your interest and draw you in.
Now, don't be disappointed! I am making a point here - and that is that as a Mentalist trying to entertain your audience, you can't go wrong with a good whodunnit.
And I have to say that Marc Paul's "True Lies" is a very clever and entertaining routine with this principle at its core.
I absolutely loved it.
It ticked all the boxes for me, in that it was entertaining, plausible, and simple to accomplish (which allows you to really focus on your interaction with the audience and the performance of the piece). It is also something that you can do anywhere and anytime.
"True Lies" takes the idea behind the murder mystery plot and combines it with a lie detector routine, with the mentalist playing the role of the detective. I was struck by how simple the process was, and impressed that the method was not what you would expect from such a routine.
In fact, some of the thinking in this reminded me a bit of a portion of Paul Brooks' "NIX4" - though I want to emphasize that Marc's routine came first and that neither is really that similar...there's just a flavor that was extremely pleasing.
If you love psychological mentalism or a have been looking for a dramatic murder mystery presentation, this is a piece that you CANNOT do without.
I mentioned earlier that the method here is simplicity itself. This is true. As I read through Marc's book, I discovered that there is only one little thing that needs to be done, and it is totally invisible.
But, as does anyone who has read a method but not yet attempted it, I was left wondering "What if when I get to that one bit, I can't do what I need to?" In practice, I am sure that such thoughts are simply paranoia.
But, as I thought about what I would do if such a situation ever arose, I came up with a sort of "No Fail Protocol", which allows this presentation to work even if you can't do that one thing that you need to do. Don't get me wrong, this is a backup, but if you present it correctly then the effect will look exactly the same. You can therefore be 100% confident that you can perform this routine all of the time.
Why do I tell you this?
Because Marc's wonderful effort deserves a wider audience and, in an attempt to add a little incentive to any prospective purchaser, I will be happy to include this "No Fail Protocol" as a bonus to anyone who takes my advice and buys this book.
A disclaimer here: I've never done this before (and may never do so again), and I don't stand to make a single bean from any of the sales - I was just really VERY pleased with Marc's ideas here. In my mind, he is one of the cleverest thinkers out there and I've thought so since I read "The Human Equation", which is also an excellent piece of thinking and one which can make a show extremely memorable for the audience.
My advice is to look into Marc's work, starting with "True Lies". It really is a very special piece of impromptu, crowd-pleasing mentalism.