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.

8" X 11-1/2" comb bound; 73 pages; no illustrations; 1994