Comment: Magical moments promised at awards dinner

Kevin McMahon brings his unique brand of magic to the Scott+Co Scottish Legal Awards 2016. Picture: TSPL
Kevin McMahon brings his unique brand of magic to the Scott+Co Scottish Legal Awards 2016. Picture: TSPL
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KEVIN McMahon’s magic touch will light up legal Oscars, writes David Lee

He might not be able to make difficult clients disappear, but apart from that, pretty much anything goes as Kevin McMahon brings his unique brand of magic to the Scott+Co Scottish Legal Awards 2016.

Kevin will entertain a full house at The Assembly Rooms in his home town of Edinburgh on 24 March as the Scottish legal sector Oscars are handed out.

He promises a blend of close-up magic at the award ceremony tables, followed by an after-dinner stage show with audience participation.

“Close-up magic is a very powerful way to see magic right in front of you – it’s very visual and intense. The on-stage show is much more of a shared experience,” says Kevin, who had a very unusual route into magic.

He was a scientist, studying for a PhD at Heriot-Watt University just over a decade ago when he was chosen to appear on reality TV show Faking It – and was trained on the programme to be a magician, very successfully!

Kevin learned at the feet of the masters, including American double-act Penn and Teller, who he cites as a major influence – along with Paul Daniels (for popularising magic to a mass TV and theatre audience) and The Great Lafayette, who died in a fire during his performance at the Empire Palace Theatre (now the Festival Theatre) in Edinburgh in 1911.

Kevin, whose PhD was examining the forensic applications of a 3D camera, brings his scientific background into his show. He explains: “My larger performances, especially my Fringe show, is incredibly science-based which I wouldn’t have been able to do without my science background. I like to deconstruct natural phenomenon and rebuild them on stage. I’m a really big fan of Camera Obscura in Edinburgh, which is a great combination of science and magic.”

He also likes to share magical secrets with his audiences, which doesn’t always go down well with fellow magicians: “There is obviously a line you don’t cross but I am very influenced by Penn and Teller. They were clever enough to let people into the secrets of tricks they had developed themselves and that’s what I’m trying to do as well. Sometimes it’s a lot of people I tell, sometimes just one or two.”

Kevin, who runs the Edinburgh Magic Festival and holds the world record for the largest-ever magic trick (shown to 1,500 people in Edinburgh), is looking forward to the show at the legal awards where 35 finalists are shortlisted for 13 awards – including last year’s multiple award-winner Digby Brown.

Three more awards, including The Managing Partner of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by The Scotsman), will be presented on the night. The event – the 14th Scottish Legal Awards – will be hosted by Catriona Shearer and Dougie Vipond.

• To book a table for the black-tie dinner and awards ceremony, go to or call Pippa Barker on 0131 337 6232 or email