REVIEW – Four Nations Magic Off

*****

By Chiara Pannozzo

Laughter was the theme of the evening as comedy was combined with magic in the final night of the week long Edinburgh International Magic Festival. Culminating in a two hour long Four Nations Magic-Off, this event was designed to showcase the wealth of talent across the industry. Featuring close up magic, card tricks and illusion, tonight’s performances demonstrated the commitment these magicians have to wowing their audience.

Setting the pace for the evening was the President of the Edinburgh Magic Circle, Gary James. He opened using his expert skills in the art of illusion, followed by very clever ventriloquism, using two members of the audience. A hard act to follow, Harrison Richards took to the stage in pursuit of reading our minds. One unwitting member of the audience was plucked from their seat, as Harrison laid bare his abilities in predicting our thoughts. This left the participant stunned, yet equally amazed at his magical abilities.

Mind reading aside, Alan Hudson got as many laughs from the audience as he did gasps, as he used his powers of intuition on a member of the audience to predict their forthcoming actions. He was closely followed on stage by David Bartholomew, a newcomer to the magic arena, who made his first ever appearance on stage during this event. With confidence and professionalism, he completed his card trick to a startled audience. There was yet more magic to come in the shape of Michael Neto, a magician who performed a series of tricks using a range of inanimate objects to demonstrate the depth of his skills. His mixture of close up magic and illusions created quite a stir amongst the audience, with many looking puzzled at his achievements within the live forum.

Last but certainly not least, Lewis Barlow used a member of the audience to help him close the show, by demonstrating a deja-vu experiment. Using only a pack of cards, Lewis was able to create a scenario where his magic seemed entirely inexplicable. This was further confirmed by an entirely bemused audience.

By design, the evening was organised for us magic lovers to have a good time within the realms of such a bewildering world. For the magicians, this event was concerned with a little healthy competition, as the title of the 2011 Four Nations Edinburgh Magic-Off Champion was at stake. Using the very honest technique of clapping, the audience voted for their favourite magician of the evening, with the accolade deservedly going to Michael Neto.

Bearing in mind the Edinburgh International Magic Festival is only in its second year, the achievements to date are admirable. With tonight’s event doubling in size in comparison to last year, it’s clear to see that the good folks of Edinburgh are embracing this festival, and since it’s the only performance based magic festival in the UK, spectators are travelling from far and wide to be part of this event. With such successes firmly in the bag, I am already looking forward to seeing what the Magic Festival will bring to Edinburgh next year.

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