Edinburgh International Magic Festival launch programme
- Rowena McIntosh
- 22 April 2015
MagicFest pulls another rabbit out the hat with a new MagicHub at Summerhall
This summer sees the sixth edition of the Edinburgh International Magic Festival, nine days of mind boggling illusions, sleight of hand, mind reading and other feats of the impossible to get you exclaiming ‘How did they do that?’
For the first time the festival has a fixed base, with the Art Laboratory at Summerhall transformed into the MagicHub. Kevin McMahon, director of the festival, describes it as like ‘entering a portal, and winding up somewhere where the normal rules don't apply. It's kinda like that but with drink and doughnuts.’ The doughnuts being due to MagicFest’s new sponsor, Krispy Kreme. You’ll need the sugar to get you over the shock of so many inconceivable acts.
At Summerhall, Ali Cook's The Art of Astonishment blends escapology, Derren Brown-style mind reading feats, and dexterous close-up magic; Kevin McMahon’s Quantum Magic fuses state-of-the-art magic with science; Flemish circus company Cirque Cirqulaire’s Working Class interweaves magic illusions into a poetic story; and for an intimate performance Mark Elsdon’s 10 presents 10 magic tricks in 10 minutes with 10 words for just 10 people at a time.
Elsewhere across the city, Tower of Illusion transforms Camera Obscura into a realm of unnatural creatures and treacherous mysteries in a treasure hunt described as ‘Lord of the Rings meets The Crystal Maze'. The Secret Room returns to Lauriston Castle as three Scottish magicians animate the castle’s fascinating past with stories, performances and illusions through laboratories and secret passageways. The annual Magic and Variety Gala Show heads to the Festival Theatre – said to be haunted by legendary magician the Great Lafayette – where the evening's entertainment includes four-time World Champions of Quick Change Illusion Sos & Victoria with a new take on the art of transformation; Taiwan’s Mike Chao’s manipulation act; Colin Cloud in a new show predicting your behaviour and Magic Circle Stage Magician of the Year John Archer.
For those who can’t let go of ‘how did they do that?’ Dr Houstoun, Magic Circle Close-up Magician of the Year and consultant on Wolf Hall and Hugo, pulls back the curtain on some of the most incredible magicians of days gone by in the fabulously named A Compendium of Curious Characters and Exquisite Marvels too Strange to be Believed, while feature-length documentary Our Magic by R Paul Wilson (The Real Hustle) reveals the art of magic as seen by thirty of the most respected performers and creators.
Youngsters who aspire to magical heights can enrol in Magic School’s wizardry workshops and Street Magic Master Class; it’s the closest to Hogwarts you’ll get. To see the next generation of up-and-comers, check out War of the Wizards Under 18s, no unforgivable curses allowed. This year for the first time adults can attend Magic School, with Edinburgh’s Ricky McLeod’s Trixology uncovering the secrets behind several killer magic effects.
Edinburgh International Magic Festival, Edinburgh, 26 Jun–4 Jul.