Review: Colin Cloud: Psycho(Logical)

An uneven hour of entertainment from mentalist and mind-reader Colin Cloud.

★★★
cabaret review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Colin Cloud: Psycho(Logical). Image: The Studio, Penicuik
Published 11 Aug 2018

Hmm. Is Colin Cloud actually that good? If the soar-away success of his entertainment career is anything to go by, then yes.

The Harthill-born mentalist—dubbed the closest thing we have to an actual Sherlock Holmes—has performed on some big stages. Just last year, he was a semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent, he did the Royal Variety Performance, and he was co-opted into the wildly popular touring show The Illusionists. His 2017 Fringe show, Dare, was rapturously received.

And, okay, a lot of what he does in his new show, Psycho(Logical), is impressive. It’s cool when he guesses audience members’ birthdays apparently out of the blue. It’s cooler when he works out an audience member's phone number, then calls them on it. And it’s even cooler when he somehow mind-reads several audience members’ worst nightmares.

Some of his material, though, is a little old-hat, a bit obvious, even for laymen – the invisible touch trick, for example. And although he’s a likeable enough stage presence with a sharp suit and a sharper eye, he doesn’t exactly ooze charisma and confidence. His patter is dry and his quips lack wit.

Plus the overriding theme of Psycho(Logical)—something about the difference between psychotic responses and rational ones—gets lost in a miasma of unnecessary music and dramatic lighting. It’s meant to heighten the tension. All that stuff really does is evaporate any atmosphere, which Cloud only partly recovers with a ghostly, jump-scare conclusion. This is the Pleasance Courtyard, not Caesar’s Palace, after all.