This is one of those magic reviews which is tricky to write. But let’s start with the effect – a very good place to begin. Last Laugh is a fun and fooling effect – after a very fair looking selection from a deck of cards – the chosen card is the only one to match a ‘stranger card’ in a second deck – which is otherwise entirely made up of Jokers.
There are lots of things to like about this. The routine itself contains natural comedy and is not difficult to do. It also re-sets pretty quickly which is always handy. The quality of the supplied gimmicked deck is good – I didn’t even notice it was gimmicked when I first played quickly with the cards!
But that’s not quite the end of the story…
The first negative is probably only a downside for people like me who are not quite as well connected to the world wide web as the rest of the world seems to be. But there are no written instructions nor a DVD with this – the only way to learn the routine is by logging on to a website and watching it online (or downloading). If, as I was, you’re trying to learn it on a slower internet connection at a busy time you might be disappointed. That is in no way a deal-breaker – and I suspect we are likely to see more and more releases put out in this way since it must save money over sending physical media.
The second is simply a musing about whether or not there is much that makes this new. If you’ve been in magic any time you’ll be able to think of half a dozen ways of creating a similar effect. Now Mark has brought a few subtleties in which add some degrees of fairness to the selection process, but at the end of the day you could remove some of that freedom and then reduce the complexity of the gimmicked deck – and the effect on the audience would be little different.
Who get’s the last laugh?
I suppose the fair way to test that is in repeated real-world performance. And we haven’t had time to do that. And so for us the jury is out slightly. We’re generally great fans of Mark’s work, but the Last Laugh just doesn’t seem quite as satisfying as some of his releases.
But for all that, the plot is appealing and I think that for a lay-audience this would play very strongly. You have to give up the pocket space for 2 decks of cards, but in return you have a strong effect which is relatively easy to do.
You pays your money and takes your choice as they say. And Mark Elsdon gets the last laugh…
Available in the UK from Merchant of Magic for £25 (at time of writing).
Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.