Colin Cloud begins Psycho(logical) by saying that as, in this show, he will be discussing us, the audience, it is really our own fault if we do not like it. This sets the tone perfectly—Cloud maintains that ominous and facetious balance steadily for the duration of the show. Cloud consistently astounds his audience with his mind reading tricks, and uses both classical and unusual techniques for scary magic to great effect.
The first half of Psycho(logical) is more expected magical fare. The audience files in to find Cloud already on stage, taking notes, but his condition quickly evolves into an escape artist themed situation. Cloud’s calm demeanor throughout his change in situation could be interpreted two ways, either that he is confident in his control over his show, or that his tranquility when facing apparent death does indicate that he is, as the title of is show suggests, a psychopath.
Midway through the show Cloud switches gears, framing the majority of his second half as a séance-style attempt to communicate with the dead. This is, he explains, a bit of a tribute to the creator of his beloved Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle, who was a prominent spiritualist. This spiritualist theme allows Cloud to incorporate mind reading, hypnotist, and even meditative techniques to create his effects. The emphasis is always on the mind reading, Cloud’s specialty, but the addition of the more varied techniques accentuates the story line of that segment, to Cloud’s benefit.
Notably, given the nature of Cloud’s show, he is nevertheless kind to his audience participants. Cloud reserves the majority of his sinister affectations for the audience as a group, and is much more considerate when interacting with the individuals who put themselves before their peers to help him perform his tricks.
The split format of Psycho(logical) works well for Cloud. While his séance themed section is certainly engaging, the premise may have felt a bit thinly stretched if he had attempted to hold it for the entire hour. The only issue is that he did spend such a significant portion of his show on a segment that seemed to have little to no relation to his Psycho(logical) theme. Cloud did end with a throwback to the start of the show that successfully tied the evening together, but these were external to the séance section.
Psycho(logical) is dependably impressive and reliably entertaining throughout. Cloud’s séance section was a delightfully creative framework both to showcase his mind reading tricks and allow him to explore related techniques, but did feel like its own self-contained mini-show dropped randomly into the otherwise Psycho(logical) themed main event.
At the start of the show, Cloud claims that any member of the audience may be unknowingly sitting beside a psychopath. By the end, the one thing that is clear is that, regardless of Cloud’s true mental state as a man, as a magician he certainly plays an entertaining psychopath.
Colin Cloud can be found at Pleasance Courtyard during the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe at 20:00 from August 9-13, 15-27
More information on Colin Cloud and his performance dates can be found here