Edinburgh Fringe 2017
A clever, entertaining and educational examination of some key mathematical principles. Pity it’s not part of the school syllabus.
Jason Davison is busily handing out flyers containing a series of puzzles relating to his engaging The New Maths Magic Show that, even on a dull Sunday morning, had the quaint Hispaniola venue on Drummond Street straining at the seams as the very young, the very old and seemingly every age in between squeezed themselves into every last nook and cranny to have some fun with maths.
Fun with maths? That sounds like an oxymoron to most people but this clever and nicely understated entertainer soon had all elements of the audience joining in as he went through his range of magical mathematical routines which he interspersed with some, at times, bewildering illusions.
But the twist to this show is that, having wowed the audience with the magic, Davison then patiently explained how each trick worked and how he had used simple mathematic principles to deliver a successful outcome. And anyone who thinks young people have no interest in maths should have been in the audience as Davison’s every question generated a forest of hands wanting to give the answer.
So it was that we learned the magic of multiples of nine and the principles of how to count using binary and ternary rather than our traditional decimal system. Each trick was a short story in which a willing young member of the audience was invited on stage to help Davison; in one case the lad selected was so small he had to stand on a chair in order to be seen by the audience.
We had magic where Davison started with the answer and worked backwards explaining to the volunteer the choices he had made to get to his answer. We also had several tricks that appeared to have gone embarrassingly wrong, only for our host to produce the proverbial mathematical rabbit from a hat to make sure everything worked out in the end.
Davison’s smooth, easy going style meant that he was able to both hold audience attention as well as educate. And if he continues to pack the venue, as he deserves to, he might want to consider miking up for the rest of his run – at times it was difficult to pick up his excellent patter over ambient noise in the facility.
The best, however, he saved until last. No spoilers here but all I will say is that I’ve never seen anyone do what he did with a bit of sticky tape, a coin and a ball of wool. Pure magic and pure joy for the audience. Thoroughly recommended for young and old alike, especially if you hated maths at school.