COLIN CLOUD cuts a striking figure as he strides purposefully along George Street.
Dressed in his trademark black, his slender frame topped by the distinctively coiffured hair so familiar to fans of America’s Got Talent, he is a man on a mission.
It’s nearly time for curtain to rise on his new Fringe show (intriguingly titled Sinful), and the clock is ticking...
Brushing past a family of tourists, the daughter spots him and executes the perfect double-take as her jaw drops.
She stops and points, “That’s him...” she squeals, as her parents turn and follows her gaze, “...the guy from America’s Got Talent.”
All three watch as he disappears around the corner into South St David Street.
Such is the now global appeal of former Whitburn Academy pupil Colin Cloud.
Earlier, catching up in The Dome, the 32-year-old who is now recognised as one of the world’s top forensic mind-readers demonstrated his inexplicable talent, leaving me speechless.
Later, he casts his mind back some 17 years to recall his amazing journey from West Lothian to the Vegas Strip.
Leaving school at 15 to study forensic investigation in Glasgow, it was a love of Sherlock Holmes that set him on his way.
“I was the youngest person on the course and really shy back then, very introverted,” he reveals.
“At school I didn’t even make eye contact with people. I dreaded talking in front of the class. University was daunting, but it was a chance to reinvent myself.”
While there Colin discovered The Stand Comedy Club - it was an eye-opener.
“I realised the best comedians were great at observing what was happening in the room and building that in to their act... well, that’s a mind-set like Sherlock Holmes.”
Cloud had a go and found he could entertain.
“Comedy has always been my first love,” reveals the man who has now astounded audiences the world over,
“More than anything I wanted to be a stand-up,” he confesses.
After university, Colin became a motivational speaker until one day he realised that urging other people to follow their dreams was a bit hypocritical when not practising what he preached.
“I’ve never been a massive fan of reality TV, although it has been very kind to me, but in 2012 I lined-up to audition for Britain’s Got Talent and went through all the levels of producers and then met the judges.
“Although I got four yeses, it didn’t really go anywhere.”
He confides, “I remember I got my ass out for my final prediction. What was I thinking? I wanted to do something no one else would... now I realise there was a reason no one else would.
“Although Amanda Holden did comment on how nicely waxed I was,” he laughs.
In the same year, Colin did his first proper Fringe show and was spotted by NBC television, who filmed his show at The Caves and promptly signed him up to fly to the States to film a sizzle (a pilot of a pilot).
Through that he landed a role in The Illusionists Live on the West End, which then toured the USA and transferred to Broadway in New York.
It was there that his bride to be, fellow magician Chloe Crawford, 31, proposed.
“I was taken aback, and that’s a hard thing to do to a man who is meant to know everything,” he laughs.
“Of course I said yes. We had been seeing each other for five months and it had been an amazing time... you know, when you know, you just know.”
The pair, who co-star in Sinful, first met in LA, while filming with The Illusionists in the Magic Castle, they then appeared in the Broadway show together.
“It’s amazing when you meet someone who works in a similar field and they just get it, the travel, the lifestyle, everything ...
“Chloe asked me to marry her on the final night of the Broadway season.
“The curtain came down and she said she just wanted to stand there for a minute to appreciate the fact that we had done the show.
“Then she became a little bit emotional, produced the ring, and asked if I would marry her.
“I should have known, shouldn’t I?,” he quips.
“Should have been expecting it... but I am genuinely very lucky.”
He said yes and the couple will tie the knot in December at The Caves, before moving permanently to Vegas in January, where Colin has been signed to appear at the world famous Mirage resort and casino with Canadian-American magician Shin Lim.
Consequently, this will be his last full Fringe season.
“This is my third year in the Pleasance Grand, the venue I saw the acts that blew me away, people like Tapeface and Tim Key.
“Playing that room the first year, the pressure was insane.
“Last year it felt comfortable and this year it’s easy.
“So as much as I love the Fringe and have been privileged to be part of it, it’s time for a new challenge.”
ON THE FRINGE: WHERE TO SEE COLIN CLOUD
COLIN CLOUD returns to the Fringe in a brand new show for 2019, Sinful.
Are you an honest person? And did you just lie to yourself? Cloud knows the truth - and the truth is that we’re all sinners.
In Sinful, Cloud will charm the demons in your head and reveal whether you are saint or sinner.
He’ll listen to those whispering voices that tempt you to defy the better angels of your nature.
With special guest Chloé Crawford, Colin will reveal why it’s so much more fun to ask for forgiveness than permission, and why enough is never enough.
Join the acclaimed stage mentalist, the Sherlock Holmes of entertainment, and wonder at his astounding deductions and outrageous stunts at The Pleasance grand this August.
Having stunned audiences and intrigued sceptics from New York to Australia, London’s West End to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, his Fringe shows sell-out annually and have been voted in the top three of more than 4000 acts each year.
In 2017, Cloud was asked to appear on the Royal Variety Performance and toured America in The Illusionists Live from Broadway.
He continued his critically acclaimed work with The Illusionists in 2018/19 and performed in New York for a season at Christmas.
Colin Cloud: Sinful, Pleasance Grand, Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 August (not 13), 8pm, £15.50-£17.50, 0131-556 6550