I received my copy of John Archers new Streetwise book test a few days ago. I knew a good bit about it before receiving the finished product as he and I had exchanged some brief correspondence about it before it was completed. I was impressed with what he had told me about it earlier and am even more so now that I have had a chance to examine the finished product.
Start with the fact that the book is beautifully produced. Although I have never seen an authentic London Street Guide with which to compare it, The ABC of London certainly looks like what I imagine such a guide should. The maps themselves, although fictitious, are clear, bright and I see no reason why they should not be accepted as legitimate. (I am not personally familiar enough with London to know whether they would pass the scrutiny of a native of that city.) Just on a whim I searched the street index in vain for familiar names like Trafalgar Square, Picadilly Circus and some of the streets where the notorious Rippers victims were murdered; however, given the manner in which the book is to be used, there would be no reason for an audience member to do so. Nevertheless, I might be wary of leaving the book in the hands of a spectator long enough to be subjected to a rigorous examination. Of course the same can be said for most of the books created with a book test in mind.
The book is constructed to accommodate three different tests, each of which enables the performer to give a specific revelation (a street selected from the index, a borough chosen by opening the book at random and a street chosen at random from any of the maps). The instructions are clear and well illustrated and replete with tips on presentation and John has taken pains to appropriately credit the originators of the several methods employed.
Because the book is a street guide it offers an interesting alternative to the novel or dictionary typically used in other tests, making Streetwise ideal for use in addition to other commonly used volumes. While designed with those performing in the UK or Europe in mind, there is no reason for performers in the US to be reluctant to use it as well. I am happy to recommend it.