Magic Consultancy

“Magic Consultant” is one of the few jobs that peaks more interest than saying you’re a magician. The job description is to make a moment(s) in a performance situation look magical. I’m friends and colleagues with a few that have consulted on Dynamo’s show, and also others who have created magic in some of the biggest West End productions. The job has intrigued me. It’s like solving one big ever changing magical puzzle in the most beautiful way.

So it was with great pride that I was able to work with talented casts at two of the foremost producing theatres in the country, The Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh and The Dundee Rep.

In Edinburgh I had the pleasure of working with actors Cristian Ortega, Pauline Knowles and Lewis Howden on The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. My job was to create magical choreography that showed the audience the magical production of Turkish delights and hot chocolate for ‘Edward’ played by Cristian. The solution was a two person performance routine that involved timing, magic and quite a lot of smoke!

Much magic is accomplished using sleight of hand and misdirection, skills that take many years to master. It’s always a worry for me, how much time and respect non-magicians (in this case actors) give to learning these skills. These guys really went for it and made the ‘magic choreography’ really come to life. Lewis in particular had quite a lot of responsibility, and relished it. It was really impressive to see how quickly the actors took to learning these new skills and then embellishing them for the show. It was wonderful to see the smiles on the audiences’ face when the objects appeared in the live show. It was a wonderful production and the most successful Christmas Show the Lyceum has had.

Up in Dundee one of my roles was to animate an imitation snake in Roald Dahl’s dark and fabulous book ‘Witches’. This was such fun and after a few weeks of work I had a marvellous, metre-long wooden snake slithering out of a hand bag, up the arm of an actor before squirming around in their hands – perfect for enticing a young boy down from a tree and into the hands of a witch that would like nothing more than to remove the child from the face of the earth. 🙂 It was thrilling to see how a number of prototypes slowly merged into this beautiful, sleek and sinister black snake. Not for the squirmish, but wow! I’ll try get a video on line for this eventually.

My second job was to help turn 3 people into mice! That was much trickier…

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The Colour Changing Flower Bed

I don’t think anyone has ever recycled wonder before, but I think this just about ticks the box. A brand new art-illusion fusing magic, science and floristry, inspired by possibilities that only become apparent when you change your perspective.

Presenting the Colour Changing Flower Bed – an idea that was developed with my great friend, mathematician Mark Collins back in 2013 was realised in public spaces around Edinburgh and viewed by over 10,000 people!

Colour Changing Flower Bed – aha – I get it. Flowers on a bedstead. But wait… there’s more. It’s smarter than that. There are three sweet spots for viewing the bed, when you move from one to the other, only one colour of flower is visible – hence the ‘colour change’. See the video below for one with the number ’30’ embedded (haha) inside the flower arrangement.

The work features over 1000 flowers – painstakingly placed, taking 3 days to prepare. The honeycomb frame, which makes the ‘colour change’ illusion possible, is made from over 600 playing cards that I’ve used in past performances over the last ten years. Some are signed, some are dog eared, all are being recyled to create a moment of wonder once again.

One of my big character flaws is starting projects and then leaving them unfinished. Nothing frustrates me more. So I’m immensely proud to show you this, an idea that took two years to develop.

Pickpocketing and The Disappearing Tie Trick

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Thanks to the wonderful lady at one event last week who took these photos of a ‘tie steal’ in process. I love doing this; a tie literally disappears right off the neck of a guest – without him noticing. This is one of the most bold and entertaining ‘tricks’ a magician can do in a close up situation, and it’s usually the case that other guests are in on the secret from the off, rare for a ‘magic trick’.

And the moment someone realises that their tie has literally disappeared of their neck? Well, that’s just priceless. 🙂

Quantum Magic at the World’s Largest Festival

If you’ve never done the Fringe in Edinburgh before then you’re missing the most wonderful, crazy, busy, colourful month of arts, culture, comedy, theatre, dance, magic and much, much more all in about 1 square mile. My home town kinda doubles in size and becomes the centre for the arts in the World for a month. It’s simply amazing.IMG_8116

This year I was honoured to be invited premiere my brand new show – Quantum Magic at one of the most prestigious venues at the Fringe Festival – Gilded Balloon. The production was inspired by the amazing things that happen at the tiniest of levels known to man, known as Quantum Physics. At this level things appear/disappear, teleport, transform. It’s science that sounds just like magic. And it inspired me to create a fully examinable floating box of cards, to project the thoughts of my entire audience onto the lights around the room (with the help of special 3D glasses)

IMG_8107I’m delighted to say that over 2600 people came to see my show in the month, that’s almost a sell out every day! 2600 wonderful, wonderful people, with great taste in magic shows. That’s enough to just about fill Edinburgh’s biggest theatre – The Playhouse (another dream of mine!). Over the month I estimate that I performed to over 10,000 people at different variety nights, open spots and private events. Perhaps the largest number of people I have ever performed to in a month!

 

 

Highlights from the fringe

– Performing at one of the biggest, most prestige events on the fringe, The Big Comedy Gala
– Working on stage with Stephen K Amos, Ed Byrne and Tom Binns for the ‘Funny Turn’ charity event
– being on stage with the actual Dotaman! Who we invited to join us on stage for the last ever The Colour Ham Show. Dotaman is a BBC Alba TV presenter who has probably created more Gaelic TV than any other person.
– Opening the final The Colour Ham show with Gav and Col in the Debating Hall at Gilded Balloon.
– Watching Tom Binns, Piff the Magic Dragon and Colin Cloud‘s shows at the Fringe. Amazing acts.
– Putting a bottle through the chest of Ewan Cameron on STV‘s Fountainbridge show.
– Building a bespoke ‘Colour changing Flower Bed’ to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Gilded Balloon.

IMG_8185The big comedy gala is one of the biggest shows at the fringe. Up to 2000 gather to watch a selection of the best comedy talent on offer. So it was pretty special to be invited along to perform the last show ever with magic sketch group – The Colour Ham. An emotional last show for Col, Gav and I.

Just a week earlier, as I mentioned above we had all been on stage at gilded balloon for our swan song. 400 people – all absolutely avid colour ham fans – packed the room for one of the best colour ham shows of all time. We broke out a few sketches we hadn’t performed since 2012 and just packed in as much magical silliness as we could. The room went crazy when our Star guest, BBC children’s star Dotaman appeared on stage. If you’ve seen TCH before you’ll know we parody the DOTAMAN tv show. The only way we could think of to up it for our audience was to get the actual dotaman along. And Donny Dotaman absolutely stormed it. Guitar and all.

Such an intense and exhausting month, but I’ve came away full of energy and inspired.

The 2016 show is now in development and is going to absolutely rock. Watch. This. Space.

Funny Turn with Stephen K Amos, Ed Byrne and others

Stephen K Amos, Ed Byrne, Tom Binns, Markus Birdman and me. All on stage, all for Stroke Association Scotland’s “Not Just a Funny Turn” event. The debating hall at Gilded Balloon became the place to be mid way through the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a pretty wonderful line up of comedy talent and a Magician. Amazing to work with Stephen, Ed, Markus and Tom – really chuffed to be on the line up and the show was lots of fun.

Quantum Magic Premieres at the Fringe

Having spent the first ten years of his adult life completely immersed in Physics and the next ten in magic, Member of the Magic Circle Kevin is most likely the only person on the planet who’s reached the magic 10,000 hours needed to make you an ‘expert’ – in both areas. He’s also one of a very few people that counts quantum physics as a hobby. Vanish, transport, transform, escape, levitate, predict – the six key areas of magic. All now claimed also by science. The line between the natural and unnatural has never been more blurred, and as these polar opposites finally converge, Kevin explains why mystery is doubtless the most important concept in Science.

Guinness World Record for BIGGEST ever magic lesson smashed!

Delighted to say that we smashed the world record for the BIGGEST ever magic lesson last night at Fettes College in Edinburgh; the building that inspired JK Rowling’s image of Hogwarts. A very fitting venue.

Massive thanks to all the performers, volunteers, staff and friends who helped make this happen – ultimately numbering almost 100!! And of course massive respect and love for the 1500 strong audience that turned up to make the audience that broke the world record. Massive achievement. Well done.

I was very honoured to take the class in front of 1500 very vocal and enthusiastic people that turned up on a very cold Edinburgh evening. It was a pleasure to be named on the certificate and I’m delighted that I’ve left my mark in Magic History!

Edinburgh Fringe Festival with The Colour Ham

The Colour Ham is collaboration between a comedian (Gav), Magician (Me) and Mentalist (Colin) in a comedy sketch format. This year we premiered our brand new show at the Fringe and had a fantastic response from audiences and reviewers alike.

Firstly massive thanks to all those who came to see us perform, you were one of 1000s that ended up coming along. We think you’re amazing! For more info and live show details see www.thecolourham.com. Enough from me though. Below is a snippet from one of our reviews.

“A magical evening to remember. These performers have discovered a unique dynamic which makes them stand out from the pool of magical comedy and offer a slice of something a little more different and interesting.

They will take your breath away, hide it and then make it appear in someone else’s pocket.

Kevin, founder of the Edinburgh International Magic Festival, knows what he’s doing. His unwavering smile and charm carries his sleight of hand through with confidence.

The final illusion is spectacular and completely unexpected. This is fast-paced magical comedy from three very talented and likeable guys: they will leave you hungry for more.”

★ ★ ★ ★ Broadway Baby, Edinburgh Fringe, August 2012

Magicfest 2012 – a big success!

Delighted to say we had a fantastic 3rd MagicFest with over 5000 people coming to see shows all over Edinburgh. We were delighted to welcome Minister for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP. As founder and Artistic Director of the Festival I’m so proud of what we’ve managed to accomplish. Scotland has a rich magic heritage and it’s wonderful to offer quality live magic shows all over the city so people can see friends and contemporaries from around the world.

The Great Lafayette Award (annual award for services to live performance magic) was give to Maestro Voronin, an iconic performer and one of the first magical performers to leave eastern Europe after the fall of communism and collaborate with western artists. As well as Voronin we were able to welcome artists from over 10 different countries to Edinburgh for a spectacular week.

Massive thanks to Don Jack of ideas.co.uk who designed our spectacular 2012 logo and image.

Magicfest Fiona Hyslop MSP

May 2012 – An Amazing Month!

May 2012 was an amazing month. Here’s why;

  • photoshoot!
    Worked with the ubertalented Matthew Beech to create some cracking photos. The one that you see here, dominating the page, was taken in the Elephant house in Edinburgh, the cafe that JK Rowling wrote much of Harry Potter. In my hand you may see the subtly placed MagicFest brochure!
  • headlined at the Stand Comedy Club, Glasgow
    Have always loved watching live comedy at the Stand in Edinburgh and Glasgow. This month I was lucky enough to headline with my comedy sketch group ‘The Colour Ham’. Maybe a fringe show would work…
  • tickets on sale for the Fringe
    The Colour Ham Fringe Show tickets are now on sale! Click Here to get more info about this show from the Fringe website
  • MagicFest tickets selling really well
    The BIGGEST and most AWESOME magic event in Scotland, now in its third year, over 5000 people will see live magic this summer in Edinburgh. Get your tickets now fromwww.magicfest.co.uk.
  • weather was fab
  • birthday
    I turned the happy age of 32 this month. Having performed magic now for as long as I studied and worked as a scientist it’s a great time to reflect and I’m very pround of what I have achieved. Things are going really well, I work with amazingly talented and driven people who love what they do, I perform at wonderfully crafted events all over the UK, not to mention the Magic Festival that I’m fortunate enough to help run and create the vision for. Thanks to all those who have been part of it all.
  • mega load of gigs.
    Choca month, from the crazily warm highlands of Scotland (29 degrees!!) to beautiful Berkshire in England to the tranquil Lake District. This month I got to meet Sasha Barron Cohen at the Entertainment Awards in Glasgow, performed to almost 3000 people in 9 different hotels, 8 different castles and a ‘management centre’!