Colin Cloud is the undisputed rockstar of the Edinburgh Fringe magic world and one of the festival’s greatest success stories of recent years. I first saw him perform to an astonished room in The Caves back in 2014 and have marvelled as he has grown exponentially in confidence and reputation each subsequent year, culminating in reaching the semi-finals of
The undisputed rockstar of the Edinburgh Fringe magic world
In his latest show, Sinful, the audience arrives to a screen introducing the concept of the show – to find which of us are saints and which are sinners, inviting us to generate memories of when we have been nice and naughty for him to analyse later. He appears in his traditional suave get-up and instantly recognisable quiff, delivering incredibly well-polished, cheeky patter to a packed out audience in Pleasance Grand, a venue only absolute headliners perform at. It really feels like we’re in the audience of a live Netflix special, and Colin wouldn’t be out of place performing one for real.
Over the next hour, Cloud treats the audience to a series of mind-blowing mentalism effects in the way only he knows how. Most of the material is fresh but some of the ideas may be familiar to long-time Cloudiacs. The freshest part of the act is having a special guest, in the form of model and magician Chloé Crawford. Crawford is used effectively, performing jaw-dropping, (intentionally) horrifying links that are live-streamed to the backdrop, and co-performing in various routines. They have a charming rapport together, and she has a particularly beautiful speaking voice. It is refreshing to have a female magician take a prominent role in a mainstream Fringe show, although she lacks the absolute fluidity and naturalness of her co-star.
While Colin Cloud is incapable of creating a show that is anywhere close to merely average, Sinful is not without its imperfections. Some of the build-ups are drawn out a bit beyond the point of optimum suspensefulness and, looking around, there are faces that seem unimpressed at times, as some of Cloud’s claims prove to be a little too miraculous for their minds. But that doesn’t change the fact that the magic is of the highest calibre, and there are huge reactions throughout.
As is all but guaranteed in a Colin Cloud show, the finale is an absolute spectacle that ties everything together ideally and provokes a ‘WTF?’ reaction from the roomful of fans. During the show, Colin suggested this may be his last run here in Edinburgh and, while Sinful lacks the high-production value and intimacy of some of his previous shows, it is a worthy swan song. I would recommend anyone see him here while you can, because if any Edinburgh magic act this generation is destined to become a household name, it is Colin Cloud.