Edinburgh: city of magic and mystery

SHAZAM! It might only be three years old but the Edinburgh International Magic Festival, which starts tomorrow with a Magic and Variety Gala Performance at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, is already punching well above its weight, say some of the top magicians attending this year’s event.

“The Edinburgh International Magic Festival is rapidly gaining recognition as one of the world’s top magic events and is such a great inspiration to young magicians who can see top professionals live,” says Jay Scott Berry, recognised as one of the modern masters of magical arts.

“All the shows are presented in professional theatrical settings, from intimate venues to full stage. That’s the way magic should be seen. The art of magic is the art of wonder. We amaze, we amuse and we inspire.”

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MagicFest, as it is known, is already important as a festival, adds top comedy magician John Archer, pictured right.

“Magicfest celebrates magic and there isn’t another one like it in the country. To be able to give an audience some mystery back, something that they don’t understand, is a wonderful thing and people love it. I think it’s important that we have things that we don’t understand, otherwise life becomes a bit dull.”

Matthew Dowden, known as the James Bond of Magic and a favourite of Prince Harry’s agrees. “For the longest time, magic hasn’t been as widely recognised as other art forms and performance genres.

“In the past the only events dedicated to magic have been aimed at magicians. So, being aimed purely at the public makes the Edinburgh International Magic Festival hugely important. It changes, for the better, the way magic is perceived by society at large.”

Sleight of hand artist Paul Wilson, who has worked with the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Ben Affleck, believes Magicfest serves another important purpose.

“It continues to attract fresh, unique talents and prove that there’s much more to conjuring than a rabbit in a hat,” he says.

Jeton, the Gentleman Juggler adds, “I’ve had the pleasure of performing as a guest in magic shows around the world. This will be my first time in Edinburgh, which makes it very special. The Edinburgh Magic Festival has created in a very short time a great reputation in magic circles and this a sign of its high quality.”

Magicfest 2012, tomorrow-July 6, various venues, details visit www.magicfest.co.uk