Colin Cloud: Exposé

At last year’s Fringe, Colin Cloud packed out the house with his show Kills where, amongst the baffling displays of supernatural prowess, he killed and resurrected an audience member onstage. Returning this year, he’s decided to top that by potentially killing himself. But more about that later.

Colin Cloud is definitely one of those acts just on the edge of superstardom

Cloud is easily the biggest act of his genre at the Fringe. The large space of the Cow Shed is filled to capacity with an audience who has perhaps seen him in one of his appearances on This Morning where he both flirted with and flummoxed Holly Willoughby or his recent turn on Michael McIntyre’s Big Show. He’s certainly reached a level of celebrity that allows him to play to a sold out crowd on a windy Monday night but it means that he perhaps has to work a little bit harder to top expectations.

The audience are quickly briefed on what to expect; Cloud informs us that he will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about everyone in the room and very quickly proves to be a man of his word. Each person, picked at random by use of an adorable Colin Cloud plushie, has their deepest secrets laid bare including dreams and desires, recent events and opinions about themselves. A couple of his achievements only seem possible with the use of actual magic but Cloud is always quick to point out the science and skill behind what he does. It’s appropriate for a man who is regularly compared to Sherlock Holmes to be such a force for rational skepticism.

Cloud is disarmingly charming and funny and the audience warm to him instantly. With mind-reading acts there can be distrust or a feeling that you’re somehow being ‘played’. Cloud manages to endear himself instantly and, although everyone is shocked and stunned by his insight into his or her psyche, everyone hopes that they’ll be picked next.

The finale of the show, as promised in his publicity, sees Cloud inject himself with a poisonous concoction before handing the antidote to a random audience member and sending them off into the night. Using only his ability to read that person’s personality, Cloud invites us to follow him out of the venue onto the street to locate the errant audience member and save his own life. It’s a bold stunt for a Fringe show and a spectacular finale to a mind-bending show. Unfortunately, as I was seated near the front, Cloud had disappeared by the time I made it out of the venue but the search was live streamed on Periscope so I was able to follow along as I headed to the bar for a stiff drink.

Be sure and catch Exposé this year as Colin Cloud is definitely one of those acts just on the edge of superstardom and this may be your last chance to see him play an intimate Fringe show. Don’t worry if you have any secrets; chances are he already knows.

Reviews by Frodo Allan

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Bowjangles: Excalibow

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The Blurb

Colin Cloud returns with an exposé… of you. He has the wit of a comedian, the intensity of a hypnotist and the allure of Sherlock Holmes himself. A complete sell-out in 2014 and 2015. The show will extend beyond 60 minutes as Colin invites you, the audience, to solve a mystery with him on the streets of Edinburgh. Warning: Do not think about anything you wouldn’t want Colin to know or reveal. ‘A lesson in the art of deduction’ (Skinny). ‘Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes in the Flesh’ ( ***** (Edinburgh Evening News).