COLIN Cloud is a dangerous man. The ‘‘deductionist’ can tell you where you have been all day, your habits and can even find out your pin code. Right now he is using his skills to fascinate audiences worldwide.
The 28-year-old from Harthill studied forensic investigation at Glasgow Caledonian University, but decided not to use what he learned for investigating murder scenes.
He seems moderately unassuming as he relaxes in a seat in the middle of Brooke’s Bar, at the Pleasance Dome, as much as one can seem unassuming when they are slickly dressed among those sporting brightly coloured Fringe T-shirts.
Clad in an almost steam punk fashion, with Chelsea boots and an intricate pin on the lapel of his blazer, he sits with one leg across the other.
After his sell-out Fringe show last year, he returns with a new one, Colin Cloud: Kills, which has been in the works for the past year.
“It probably takes about nine months to get all the skills developed to the point where they’re ready and reliable enough to do a show,” Cloud says.
“In my head I imagine what I want people to be talking about on social media, what do I want them to be saying, and then what can I do to make sure that they’re saying that.”
The inspiration for his show last year was what would happen if an audience could spend an hour with Sherlock Holmes. This year, he has built on that, keeping the running theme of his favourite character but also adding Holmes’ nemesis, Moriarty, so there is a twist of good and evil.
Cloud has been inspired by Sherlock Holmes from a young age and his early fascination with the detective urged him to study forensic investigation at university.
Despite his performances being based around Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character, however, Cloud does not feel like he relates to him in a personal sense.
“I think as a person he is quite arrogant, rude and obnoxious. He was completely sociopathic,” he says.
“I think if you’re going to stand up in front of an audience and actually engage them, you need to be aware of them and their emotions and be empathic, which he wasn’t.
“So I really hope that for the right reasons I’m not like him at all.”
Today, Cloud sits in stark contrast to his younger self, who he describes as shy and unconfident.
He spent his university years playing the role of being confident among his older classmates and performing and building himself up at The Stand Comedy Club and incorporates his comedy background into his performance to relax audiences.
“Never in a million years did I imagine that I would have the confidence to stand up in front of an audience and do this, so it’s kind of life-changing, dream come true type stuff,” Cloud says.
“Using comedy breaks down the barriers and then people give off and do what I need them to do without even realising that they’re doing it.”
As well as selling out a run of shows at this year’s Fringe, Cloud is astounding audiences overseas.
In the works is a television show with NBC, which also follows his passion for Holmes and involves deducing information about unsuspecting people off the streets of America.
“I love America. I mean I love the UK, but American audiences, they don’t hide their emotions.”
His TV show will also delve into the science of how he does what he does. It’s in the final stages of being filmed and Cloud hopes that the show will also be available to audiences in the UK.
If that wasn’t enough, the rest of his year will also be busy as Cloud is joining a troupe of six of the world’s greatest magicians for a show called The Illusionists, on London’s West End.
“They liked me as a performer and just thought I could bring something different to the show,” says Cloud.
“If you had asked me two years ago, I don’t think I would have been ready, but now I feel like I can stand on a stage in front of 2000 people, it’s exciting”
Meanwhile, Cloud is constantly working on new material and trying to keep it all organised.
“It’s no different to watching a juggler,” he says. “That’s what I’m doing, constantly adding more balls that I can juggle at the same time.”
Colin Cloud Kills, Pleasance Courtyard, until 30 August, 6.20pm, £9-£10.50 (returns), 0131-226 0000