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Kevin McMahon was studying for a PhD in physics when his life changed. He appeared on a Channel 4 show called Faking It and since then, has turned his back on academic life and become one of the country’s most successful magicians. Not only that, but the Fifer is behind the creation of the Edinburgh International Magic Festival which runs from July 7-11 in the capital.
McMahon said: “Faking It convinced me that magic was the way forward and I thought ‘I’m going to convince Scotland now that magic is the way forward'. So the Magic Festival brings all the best magicians in from around the country to Edinburgh.”
McMahon’s epiphany came after studying magic for four weeks, during which time he travelled to Las Vegas to learn from Penn and Teller amongst others, for the show Faking It; the culmination of which was to perform in front of the UK’s leading magicians and convince them he was a professional. McMahon was the most successful contestant on the show and even managed to fool Paul Daniels, who he describes as the “governor” of magic.
Since then, McMahon has never looked back as he explained: “I tried to go back, but as you can imagine I had a massive rush of emotions from going from a physicist to a magician.
“They say the grass is always greener on the other side and it was. I was thrown over the fence essentially and found the grass was greener. I came back to my job and sat down for less than an hour in front of my computer screen and started to work through these equations and instantly, well as instantly as you can get to make a life changing decision like that, I decided that this isn’t for me anymore."
He added: “Even up until that moment I thought I was going to continue, but I didn’t.”
Since the show, McMahon’s magic career has really taken off and has performed in front a host a famous faces at events and private parties including Sean Connery and Patrick Stewart and both footballers Steve Davis and Stephen McManus’ weddings. Although he did admit he had to turn down Sir Paul McCartney for a job.