Magic Festival spells out fifth programme

Apr 23 2014 | By More

Scottish and theatrical content up as tickets go on sale

Photo © Colin Hattersley Photography

Edinburgh Magic Festival director Kevin McMahon launches into the High Street. Photo © Colin Hattersley Photography

By Thom Dibdin

Magic will combine with theatre as the Scottish content is increased at the Edinburgh International Magic Festival, running over eight days from 27 June to 4 July.

Full details of this year’s festival, the fifth, have now been announced. And it sees an increase in Scottish content according to festival director and magician Kevin McMahon, while continuing to attract top international acts.

The festival also continues to expand into new venues. Adam House and the Assembly Roxy are added for the first time, to take the number of different venues to ten.

McMahon told Æ: “I have noticed over the last few years that there has been an improvement in the level of shows which are coming out of Scotland, so I am really happy to programme some of these Scottish acts this year.

“There are more in the main programme than I have ever had before, so I am really happy about that.”

Building on a gala appearance of theatre company Vox Motus in recent years and consultation work for the National Theatre of Scotland, McMahon is quick to point up the collaboration between a magician and a theatre company which features in this year’s programme.

“Collaborating with a theatre company is a really good sign in my opinion,” he said. “Michael Neto is a Glaswegian performer, who is working with Sonic Boom Theatre. Tragic Magic is a narrative-driven piece – with lots of magic in it – about his two loves: his love for magic and his love for his girlfriend and choosing between the two of them.”

The natural symbiosis between theatre and magic would seem to be building something of a movement in Scotland. After all they are the very much the same coin and the increase of character-driven magic and use of magic-based illusions in theatre should lead to more excitement in both.

“It is a very small scene I have to admit, but it is getting there,” McMahon says, pointing out the difficulties inherent in such collaborations. “Magic has this inbuilt secrecy thing where magicians don’t like to explain secrets to those who are not magicians,

“My feeling is that that holds things back as well. I encourage collaboration and I am really glad that this is happening and I am really happy to see that at this year’s festival.”

“why it works and how it works…”

Making his debut at this year’s Magic Festival is Richard Wiseman, the magician turned psychologist. Although, as the name behind the Edinburgh Secret Society, he is no stranger to the festival itself, having attended events and supported it in the past, but his appearance at the festival is something McMahon clearly feels is a big coup.

Photo © Colin Hattersley Photography

Edinburgh Magic Festival director Kevin McMahon at the Camera Obscura. Photo © Colin Hattersley Photography

“He shares the ethical view which magicians have about maintaining the integrity of tricks,” says McMahon. “He wants to explore how these things work from a physiological point of view, but when it comes to the secrecy of magic tricks he is very keen to maintain that as well.

“I was a research scientist before I became a magician and I am fascinated by why it works and how it works. It kind of shouldn’t work but it does, so I am really keen to watch Richard and see what he has to say.”

As always, this year’s event will open with a big gala production at the Royal Lyceum, where McMahon is able to showcase magic acts and performances from around the world. It’s a mix he builds up from attending industry, magician-only events, recommendations and personal contacts.

“I have an idea of how I want the Gala show to flow and what kind of acts go in what positions,” he says. “I try to find acts which are really inspirational, ones which are amazing.

“The Gala show puts magic in a really good light and features ten minute acts that the performers tend to have worked on for years. A lot of their life has gone into these.”

Edinburgh International Magic Festival Listings: 27 June till 4 July 2014

Fri 27 June: 2.30pm & 7.00pm
Royal Lyceum Theatre
2.30pm (Preview) • All tickets £12
7pm • £12 – £26
Duration: 2hr 30mins with interval • Ages 5+
Take what you think you know about magic and then think again! A magical mix of breath-taking illusion, sleight-of-hand, circus and mind reading. The winner of the Great Lafayette Award 2014 will be announced during the evening gala.


Richard Wiseman: Mind Magic
Mon 30 June: 7.00pm & 8.30pm
Scottish Storytelling Centre • £13/£11 conc/£8 child
Duration: 55mins • Ages 14+
Magicians appear to make solid objects vanish into thin air, defy the laws of gravity and predict the future. Magician and psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman invites you to step backstage and discover the secret science of sorcery. Learn the hitherto hidden psychology employed by some of the world’s greatest illusionists, how to detect lies, and discover why the hand is rarely quicker than the eye.

Tower of Illusion
Mon 30 June – Tue 1 July  9.15pm
Camera Obscura • £20/£14 conc/£10 child
Duration: approx 2hr • Ages 14+
Battle your way through the Tower of Illusion and defeat all who may stand in your way.  But no one said it would be an easy climb!  Throughout your journey you must work together to defy illusion, solve riddles, challenge mystery and confront the unknown in a unique treasure hunt.


Michael Neto: Tragic Magic
Sat 28 June – Fri 4 July  (except Mon 30 June)  7.00pm
Scottish Storytelling Centre • £13/£11 conc/£8 child
Duration: 50mins • Ages 10+
What do you do when you have to choose between the thing you love and the one you love? A one man show fusing magic and theatre, with 4 time Scottish Champion of close up magic, Michael Neto, and Sonic Boom Theatre Company. The very best of new Scottish Theatre with the most impressive magic.

Luke Jermay: Strange Power
Sat 28 June – Fri 4 July  (except Mon 30 June)  8.30pm
Scottish Storytelling Centre • £13/£11 conc
Duration: 55mins • Ages 14+
In the past eight months Jermay has made more accurate public predictions than any psychic entertainer in history; publicly posting his predictions on his Twitter profile, days, weeks and even months in advance of their coming true. Jermay considers his public predictions to be a bizarre form of performance art and for the first time he is bringing this unusual recreation to the stage. ‘Luke Jermay – Strange Power’ is for entertainment purposes only.  No spirit mediumship will take place.  Written and performed by Luke Jermay, Directed by Michael Weber.  Produced by Psychic Cabaret in association with MagicFest.

Colin Cloud - the forensic mind reader reveals celebrity twitter posts, deduced and frozen in ice, 4 days head of time. Photo © Ivor Tetteh-Lartey

Colin Cloud – the forensic mind reader reveals celebrity twitter posts, deduced and frozen in ice, 4 days head of time. Photo © Ivor Tetteh-Lartey

Colin Cloud: The Forensic Mind Reader
Sat 28 June – Fri 4 July  (except Mon 30 June, Tue 1 July )  7.00pm
Adam House • £11/£9 conc/£6 child
Duration: 60mins • Ages 10+
Imagine someone who can tell you what you do for a living, what your hobbies are and what’s been on your mind all day, all by merely looking at you. He’ll bridge the gap between fact and fiction, you’ll learn how to spot the guiltiest person in a room. He will accurately profile specific members of the audience and solve mysteries that you, the audience, create.

Scott Smith: The Imagining
Sat 28 June – Fri 4 July  (except Mon 30 June, Tue 1 July )  8.30pm
Adam House • £11/£9 conc/£6 child
Duration: 55mins • Ages 12+
In our mind’s eye magical sequences play out to us. Illusion is part of our lives; woven into our very existence. Join Scott for an extraordinary evening, at the point where imagination and reality meet, and experience how illusion can transform, motivate, and inspire. By imagining… anything is possible…


Magic Dinner
Sat 28 June   7.00pm
The Royal Scots Club • £56 per person • Discounts available for groups 10+
Duration: approx 3hr 30mins • Ages 16+ only
Dress code: Black tie
Dinner Party Invitation. Hello! How exciting! You’re invited to the magic party of the year with a three course meal, fabulous entertainment and, of course, illicit amounts of tea! Featuring Ainsley Hamill, Neil Kelso, Billy Reid, Jango Starr and Kevin McMahon. Tickets for this event must be booked in advance.

The Secret Room
Thurs 3 July   5.30pm & 7.30pm
Lauriston Castle • £20 /£18 conc
Duration: 75mins • Ages 10+
On the outskirts of Edinburgh, hidden away at the end of a winding driveway, behind a walled garden, lies one of Edinburgh’s secret castles. Preserved in a early 1900s time-warp, Lauriston Castle remains in the exact state its last human owner left it. A sell-out in 2013, this event features three of the finest Scottish magicians, as they animate the castle’s intriguing past with stories, performances and illusions related to the history of Lauriston. With Lewis Barlow, Jody Grieg and Drew McAdam.


David Blanco: Honest Lies
Sat 28 June – Fri 4 July   7.00pm
The Vault • £11/£9 conc/£6 child
Duration: 50mins • Ages 8+
David does not like to lie… however being a magician forces him to deceive for the sake of the audience. Funny and remarkable, “Honest Lies” will arouse the curiosity of many and the smiles of all. David is an award winning magician, director, producer and consultant to numerous theatre, magic and puppet theatre shows.

Billy Reid: Watch Closely
Sat 28 June – Fri 4 July    8.30pm
The Vault • £11/£9 conc/£6 child
Duration: 50mins • Ages 8+
Witness the impossible unfold inches from your very eyes – a spellbinding assault on your senses where cards appear and disappear, coins transpose to impossible locations, objects levitate and future events are predicted…


Magic School
City Art Centre
One-off Magic School Workshop • £17
Sat 28 June – Sun 29 June
10.00am OR 1.30pm

5-Day Magic School • £85
Mon 30 June – Fri 4 July
10.00am OR 1.30pm
Duration: approx 2hr 30min      Ages 7-10
What would it be like to perform real magic? How would it feel to receive an invitation to a secret Magic School to develop those skills? Magic School was created five years ago to teach and inspire children to perform incredible magic for their family and friends. Please note, all children should be registered for Magic School and Street Magic Master Class in advance and therefore, tickets for these events are not available on the door. More info at

Street Magic Master Class
Mon 30 June – Wed 2 July    11.00am
City Art Centre • £36
Duration: approx 5hr 30min • Ages 11-15
If you would like to learn new sleight of hand techniques, and deliver amazing illusions that will blow your friends’ minds, then come Join an intimate group of no more than 20 magicians this summer at the all new SMMC. The class will be led by professional magicians David Blanco (Spain) and Luke Eaton (UK). So bring a packed lunch, a pack of cards, and bags of enthusiasm and we’ll provide the magic! If you have good card handling skills we recommend coming along to the Advanced class on Wednesday. More info at


Colonel Custard: Magical Mayhem
Sat 28 June – Fri 4 July    5.00pm
Scottish Storytelling Centre • £11/£9 conc/£6 child
£28 family ticket available (2 adults and 2 children)
Duration: 45mins • Ages 4+
Colonel Custard is the current British Children’s Entertainer National Champion. He has been entertaining children for over a decade with his unique blend of fun-filled magical mayhem. The magic show includes juggling, levitation, unicycling and loads more surprises along the way. Fun for all the family with slapstick comedy and “blow your brains” magic.

War of the Wizards Under 18’s
Sun 29 June 11.00am
Duration: 60mins

Open War of the Wizards
Sun 29 June 2.00pm
Duration: 90mins
Scottish Storytelling Centre • £6/£4 conc
Ages 10+
MagicFest competitions let you see and support the top up-and-coming talent in the world of magic. The two competitions, Under 18’s and Open, will be judged by a panel of professional magicians and non-magicians. THINKING ABOUT ENTERING? Visit


MagicFest at SKYbar
Thurs 3 July    6.00pm till midnight
Penthouse, DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh City Centre
Free event • Over 18’s only
‘Penthouse’ is a unique venue; an exceptional suite with stunning views of Edinburgh, open to the public especially for MagicFest. Bring your friends and enjoy a cocktail and close up magic from magicians throughout the night. Note this is a free, unticketed event with limited venue capacity. Please arrive early if you wish to guarantee entry.

Four Nations Magic-Off & Magic Ceilidh
Fri 4 July   10.00pm
Assembly Roxy • £20/£18 conc
Duration: till late! • Over 18’s only
A late night MagicFest institution! Complete sell out for the last four years, see the top UK comedy magicians going trick for trick for your vote! MagicFest’s final night party now includes a ceilidh to send off the festival in style. Not to be missed.

Telephone: 0131 473 2000
In person: Hub Tickets (The Hub, Castlehill EH1 2NE)



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