It really is a kind of magic at the Edinburgh Fringe. This year’s festival is packed with more trickery than Dumbledore’s study, with shows from card manipulation masters to Las Vegas superstars.
But, as is so often the case with magic, not all is what it seems. While some shows are aiming to boggle minds, others are total parodies playing for laughs more than gasps.
So which card should you choose? Here’s Fest’s handy scale of laughter to awe.
The Funniest of the Lot
Peter and Bambi Heaven: The Magic Inside
Best Newcomer nominee Asher Treleavan teams up with dancer Gypsy Wood to thoroughly send up bouffant-haired Vegas magicians.
Sam Fletcher: Daftwerk
DIY comic and cartoonist Sam Fletcher throws a handful of magic tricks into his new lo-fi show. Fletcher’s mostly after laughs, but his illusions are mightily impressive.
Mr Swallow – Houdini
Nick Mohammed’s alter-egomaniac Mr Swallow celebrates the life of Harry Houdini, even recreating the escapologist’s infamous 'water torture' escape.
Equal parts funny and magic
Pete Firman – TriX
Jokes and tricks in equal measure from this cheeky Middlesbrough man. Expect impressive sorcery and plenty of sauce-ery.
The Piff the Magic Dragon Show
This downbeat dragon-suited magician—who mixes silly gags with stunning tricks—found fame after he reached the final of America’s Got Talent. Now he has a Vegas residency with his chihuahua sidekick, Mr Piffles.
Ben Hanlin: Trickhead
This charming TV magician has some truly astonishing illusions up his sleeve, including a trick that works on the entire audience.
Neil Henry: Mindwangler
Henry’s act mixes mentalism and close-up magic. He’s racked up millions of views on YouTube.
Colin Cloud: Exposé
Mind-boggling mindreading. This year, Cloud performs a potentially lethal trick each and every night (that’s if he makes it to the end of the festival…).