Kevin McMahon – Quantum Magic

Aug 13 2015 | By More

✭✭✭✩✩   Tricky

Gilded Balloon (Venue 14): Wed 5 – Mon 31 Aug 2015

Kevin McMahon entertains as a magician in his Quantum Magic at the Gilded Balloon, but ultimately there’s an sense of deception that doesn’t come from his tricks.

McMahon begins his show by carefully explaining the difference between science and magic. They simply aren’t synonymous with each other, he says.

Photo © Colin Hattersley Photography

Kevin McMahon. Photo: Colin Hattersley Photography

Which doesn’t ring entirely true. Science can actually do amazing things, things that seem like magic but are actually more wondrous than a simple slight of hand. Magicians and alchemists have been doing it for centuries.

But this isn’t what McMahon’s magic is aimed at. He’s trying to marry together theoretical physics and magic tricks. And that might be where it’s failing to connect.

McMahon’s rise to fame was in the reality show of the noughties, Faking It, where the programme took a scientist and trained him under Penn and Teller. He then successfully convinced experts that he was a real magician.

Now he’s trying to explain quantum physics and the science behind Schrödinger’s cat to children and families through card tricks.


He can make coins and fruit all seemingly disappear and reappear, he can work out an algorithm to make sure objects return to their original place when in the right sequence, and he is brilliant at mental arithmetic.

McMahon is skilful at sleight of hand and misdirection and there’s nothing wrong with his magic tricks – in fact on the whole they’re quite entertaining. But they simply are not as wondrous as a show promising Quantum Magic would suggest.

Disappointingly, his tricks are not actually any different to any other magic show at the Fringe. There’s just a lot more talking – who doesn’t love a Back to the Future II reference right?

The connection between the science and the magic is perhaps a little mislaid. McMahon puts on a nice handful of audience-pleasing tricks but there’s an overarching sense that this show could have been much more.

Running time: 1 hour
Gilded Balloon (Venue 14), Teviot Row House, EH8 9AJ
Wednesday 5 – Monday 31 August 2015
Daily: 3.45pm
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:
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