Every now and then I find myself baffled by response to a new idea. There are times when something I think is terrific gets a weaker reception than I expect. There are other times when reception is much stronger than I expect. This Mouse To Cheese routine fits the later category. I demonstrated it on our recent tour and basically only used it as a gag to introduce another routine. To my surprise, this gag generated more excitement than did the routine that followed. This led me to pay more attention to the gag and I too came to see that it really is, in spite of its simplicity, a nice bit of magic.
A foam mouse visibly changes into a large piece of cheese.
How is it done?
A hollow has been created inside a piece of foam. The piece of foam looks like a large hunk of cheese. The form of a mouse has been sculpted inside this hollow. This means, when the cheese shape is turned inside out, the foam looks like a mouse. When the mouse is turned inside out, it looks like a piece of cheese.
The magician shows the mouse form first. Then, while slowly moving his arms up and down to disguise the smaller action of turning the foam inside out, he transforms the mouse into cheese.
The clever nature of the prop makes the trick super easy to do. Nevertheless, the effect is strong.
Turn the Cheese inside out so it looks like a mouse.
I have used this prop many times and it is holding up well. Even so, I advise care when setting it by way of making the Mouse shape. Since it is foam, it could be torn. If you take your time and don’t force it, you will not have any problems.
Some have asked me about putting the prop in water before use. Many sponge effects do work better when wet. However, I do not recommend it with this. Because it involves sculpted shapes, a different kind of foam is used. The trick works well dry, so it seems best to keep it that way.
Begin with the Mouse shape in your hand. Show it to the audience as you quote the following…
“There once was a mouse named Pete,
who ate too much of his favorite treat,
then he did sneeze and turned into cheese,
which is proof that you are what you eat!”
When you get to the place in the limerick where you say, “Turned into cheese,” turn the mouse inside out so it becomes a piece of cheese. At the end of the limerick say the following…
“We all know that a mouse does not really turn into cheese, but there is truth in the saying that ‘we are what we eat.’ When it comes to our health, what we put into our bodies has a big impact on our health and well being. Eating right has much to do with feeling right.
This also applies to our minds and attitudes. When we feed our minds by way of reading good things and paying attention to good information, we make ourselves educated and equipped to make good progress in life. When we read and think about positive and encouraging things it leads us to being more positive and encouraging people.
What happened to the little mouse can lead us to ask ourselves, “If we were to become what we are eating, mentally and physically, what would we look like?”
After about 20 performances, the felt eyes on my Mouse To Cheese prop came off. Rather than try to glue them on again, I used a magic marker to draw on new eyes. They actually look better than did the felt eyes.
This trick can definitely be used just as a gag, without any message attached, to get a quick laugh. I have already designated it for my emcee work. By way of demonstrating it, I have found that it is funny and people like it even when it involves nothing more than the limerick and transformation.
That being said, I love the fact that it can work into a segue about how we feed our minds and attitudes. This makes it useful for school programs and church lessons. (With church lessons, compare it to Philippians 4:8 think on these things.)
The bottom line is, in spite of its simplicity, Mouse To Cheese is a versatile prop.