Champagne & Imp Romp 2 by Lewis Jones
Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii November, 1994)
These two manuscripts of card and close-up magic, by British conjuror Lewis Jones, are
nicely produced and offer reasonably good value for the modest investment necessary.
Imp Romp 2 contains 20 card effects, all requiring nothing more than an ordinary deck
of cards, without gimmicks or even set-ups. Champagne contains twenty effects, mostly
with cards, along with a book test, a very good bar bet (in which a spectator fails
repeatedly to guess which hand the performer conceals a borrowed bill in), several card
sleights and some coin material.
Mr. Jones is obviously a fairly erudite mage, who has reworked and often improved
many offbeat effects from throughout the literature. Although you will find well-known
effects here like Out of This World and a worthy version of the diary card trick, most of
the material is not so worn. For the close-up and especially card worker of intermediate
skills, these booklets will provide some thoughtful study. Anyone interested in Moe's
Move A Card, from Moe's Miracles With Cards by Bill Meisel, will want to examine Mr.
Jones' ideas in Imp Romp 2. In Champagne, one nice effect is Just In Case, wherein the
spectator removes a card from the deck and drops it on the previously tabled Queens.
The card vanishes from amongst the foursome, and arrives in the otherwise empty card
box, without the use of palming or steals. Much of the author's strength seems to lie in
the kind of subtle construction which this trick exploits, rather than in raw technique;
some of his technical choices seem inelegant and ill-advised at times. His double-lift, for
example, strikes me as yet another version that possesses little raison d'etre short of the
opportunity to claim invention in an area where much superior work exists. His
"solution" for what to do when a spectator challenges you by grabbing a card and
insisting that you name it consists of three dense pages of text that lead to spelling
procedures and other machinations that I find it hard to imagine such a difficult
challenger politely enduring. My own professional experience leads me to prefer good
spectator management, be it with a joke, establishing control, or both. These are well-written,
cleanly-designed manuscripts of sometimes intriguing material; however, the
lack of illustrations will make the material difficult for some students to follow.