Alan Hudson

MAGIC FEST CLOSING GALA: LEVITATIONS

☆☆☆

This year’s Edinburgh International Magic Festival celebrated the end of its week of events with the MagicFest Gala: Levitations.

The event was hosted by the charming Kevin Quantum, a magician with international experience from Fife, Scotland. Kevin Quantum performed several bits of magic himself between acts. In a heartwarming gesture of inclusivity, he made a point of inviting children from the back section of the theatre to be the participants in his magic. Kevin Quantum’s engaging presentation of the acts as well as his between-act performances integrated the range of acts into a cohesive showcase of magic.

Cubic Act opened the Gala with their mysterious floating box. Their graceful choreography and whimsical illusions were wonderful to watch. Alan Hudson followed with a comedic magical act. In contrast with the other acts, which were performed to music, Hudson chatted with the audience throughout his performance, and provided the comic relief of the first half of the show.

Next up were Les Chapeux Blancs with their delightfully stylized performance. On the stage lit only by a composition of small bright lights, the two magicians, dressed in white, climbed up the air, into the ground, and in and out of sight as if they could jump in and out of reality. The contrasts of the props and costumes with the dimly lit stage, combined with the precision of the magicians, gave this act an otherworldly atmosphere that is surely enviable to other magicians.

After the interval, Bertox took to the stage with his spinning rings. His distinctive take on juggling was captivating and calming in an almost hypnotic way. Aaron Crow then brought along his romance-themed magical stunt. Crow was impressive in the precision that he brought to his act and delightfully humorous in his silent mannerisms.

The final act, Marko Karvo, featured infinite scarves that produced infinite birds. Karvo was styled as a prototypical magician, dressed in a tailcoat and accompanied by a glamorous assistant. His act might have felt outdated if it weren’t so skillfully and elegantly done, but Karvo’s evident ability and flair made this an engaging performance. Unanticipated entertainment was provided by his largest and most brightly colored bird, which decided that it preferred to perch on the exit doorway at the back of the theatre rather than in the cage that Karvo had obligingly conjured for it.

The MagicFest Gala was a lovely celebration of both the Edinburgh magic scene and global live magic performance. The range of the performances was a wonderful demonstration of the diversity of modern magical acts, and Kevin Quantum’s enthusiasm radiated optimism about the state of magic as a field, making the closing gala a triumphant end to a week of magic in Edinburgh.

ALAN HUDSON: TRICK TEASER

☆☆☆

‘No secrets’ could be the tagline for this show. Considering the ‘mystery’ appeal that most magicians will make their living on, this is a bit out of the ordinary. Alan Hudson’s show is pure silly, happy, humble magic, and he doesn’t pretend to be anything more than exactly what he is.

And what he is is spelled out right on his flyer: a comic with a feel-good magic show. But it works because he does it well. He’s working in a small venue here at the Fringe, where he stands at the same level as the audience, only a few feet from them. No room for frills or secrets, it’s just you and the magician- and Mr Hudson is a funny, friendly guy. He manages to make his audience like him nearly immediately, with jokes that hint of self deprecation, stupid dancing, and purposefully see-through magic.

This is all particularly notable on the night when I went. Mr Hudson messed up a trick in a way he couldn’t salvage in the moment. But perhaps with the exception of the woman whose wedding ring was now missing, he still had the audience on his side. The attitude was of willingness to gloss past the problem, not to blame him for messing it up.

Perhaps not the guy to see if you want to be utterly astounded, but if you want to see some cool tricks and genuinely laugh for nearly an hour straight, Alan Hudson is the right choice.

Alan Hudson‘s Edinburgh Festival Fringe show is on at Gilded Balloon at 19:45 until August 25th (not on the 13th).