This hour-long DVD centers around an original piece of impromptu “body magic.” The DVD begins with a grainy, low-res YouTube video that shows Nefesch standing in someone’s living room. He tells a rambling “true” story that has little connection to the effect he is about to perform. Then he turns his back to the camera, positions his hands behind his back, and crosses one arm over the other with his hands at his waist, as if he were embracing himself in a backwards hug. He turns to face the camera. The viewer can see his fingertips poking out from behind his back, right fingers on the left side of his body, left fingers on the right side. But then comes a surprise: he brings his hands forward, showing that his arms are now uncrossed.
That’s the basic effect. The first time I saw it, I gasped. Nefesch had done the requisite “move” so smoothly that I missed it. Then the disillusionment began, as my mind started to work out what had actually happened. And as if to help me along, the YouTube video was followed by two more demonstrations of the effect, one of which showed Nefesch performing Hug for an audience. Sadly, that meant I had to sit through his drawn-out preamble two more times. And with the element of surprise gone, the flaws in the effect started to become apparent.
Hug cannot be performed in “almost any type of situation,” such as “close-up” or “walk-around,” as Nefesch claims. This is made quite evident when, in his second demo, he asks the segment of his audience that happens to be positioned to his side to move so they’re in front of him. Fortunately, the folks in the video comply with his request. Because if Hug is viewed from either side, there is no effect.
As the video moved on to the explanation, the biggest flaw became apparent: unless you’re as skinny and flexible as Nefesch, you can forget about performing this effect. Here’s the test. Face a large mirror. Put your hands behind your back. Cross one arm over the other and then extend your hands on opposite sides of your body, wiggling your fingers. If you can’t see more than the very tips of your right fingers poking out from behind your left side, and your left fingers poking out from behind your right side, then this effect is of no use to you.
Nefesch goes on to perform and explain four variations on Hug, ranging from not very good to downright bad, and one mentalism effect that has nothing to do with Hug. All this and crappy video quality for only $45!