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Colin Cloud, 'forensic mind-reader' and Edinburgh sensation, is coming to County Durham; With his own American TV show taking shape and a Christmas run in the West End, Colin Cloud is on Cloud Nine.

Byline: David Whetstone

He's a latter-day Sherlock Holmes and the big time awaits. DAVID WHETSTONE talks to Colin Cloud, 'forensic mind-reader'

On Wikipedia his occupations are listed as "mentalist, speaker, comedian, writer" but Colin Cloud describes himself as a forensic mind-reader -- which might raise more questions than it answers.

According to Louisa, publicist for the post-Edinburgh UK tour which brings him to County Durham: "If you're wondering what a forensic mind-reader is, imagine that someone can tell what you've had for lunch, where you've been that day, what you do for a living, the car you drive, even your Pin code, just from looking at you."

That sounds a bit alarming. I'm quite glad I'm to speak to Colin on the phone.

But there's no denying the audience appeal of his act. Up in Edinburgh last month Colin Cloud: Forensic Mind-Reader garnered a clutch of five-star reviews to add to those he accrued in 2014 when he gave 23 sell-out performances on the Fringe.

He has been called "the hipster Sherlock Holmes" and it seems he is on the verge of really big things, having signed a deal with NBC-Universal Studios to make his own TV series for the American market.

"My inspiration for these shows?" asks the 28-year-old Scot. "To begin with I want it to be as if you're going to spend an evening with the real Sherlock Holmes. What would that entail? How would he demonstrate his skill set?"That was the starting point for the show I've written.

"The audience comes along and sees me demonstrate skills that have been inspired by the works of Sherlock Holmes -- or (Sir Arthur) Conan Doyle -- and my own background in forensic science and criminal profiling."

Colin studied the latter at university in Glasgow but he was already pretty clued up about Sherlock.

"I have had a passion for all those books from a very young age," he says. "I suppose I was about eight when I first read them but I confess I used to skim-read to the cool stuff.

"At first I thought the guy (Sherlock) was real. When I found out he wasn't I was devastated, as you can imagine. But it led me to forensic science and a love of that world."

He gravitated towards comedy because he reasoned that comedians have to be super-observant to work an audience and also that it would build his confidence.

"When I was younger I was quite shy and reserved," he says.

For this reason, he is always careful about who he brings up on stage. "There was nothing I'd have hated more when I was younger so I'm alive to that."

People are invited on stage, though, and things are then revealed about them. Everyone, of course, wants to know how.

Colin will say only that to his Holmesian skills he has added "a toolbox of things I've learned that are more modern-day". He admits that sometimes things do go awry but says the trick is to deal with those eventualities in such a way that the audience hardly realises.

"There is a degree of theatricality to it," says Colin. "I do have a lighting director." He also has his stand-up comedy skills to fall back on.

There are supposedly magic things that can be learned by everyone, Colin agrees, but he says it's like everything... some people end up being better than others and a few turn out to be very good indeed.

In the worlds of magic, illusion, escapology -- and even forensic mind-reading if there be such a world -- there are various directions you can go.

"It's about finding your own way of doing things, what works for you," says Colin. "There is a mentalist, more pyschological kind of magic and I know people who do that and are incredible. I'd say what I'm doing is different. I'd say it's more about about observing, about reading people rather than minds."

Fine lines might divide these various sub-genres but there's no doubting their pulling power. In June Colin was invited to join The Illusionists, a monster magic show which has toured the world (Broadway, Sydney Opera House...) and is to open at London's Shaftesbury Theatre on November 14 for an extended run.

Colin will perform as The Deductionist, a latter day Sherlock. "It is very exciting," he says, the day before he is due in London to publicise that show, all the while hopping back and forth across the Atlantic to make his NBC-Universal Studios series.

If this isn't the big time, it's hard to know what is. "It's quite incredible, overwhelming," says Colin. "But I'm going to keep working hard and coming up with new ideas to keep people on their toes."

Colin isn't entirely an unknown quantity in the North East, having made jaws drop at the South Tyneside Magic Show and at corporate events.

But seemingly with bigger fish to fry, you might be best advised to catch him at The Forum Music Centre, Borough Road, Darlington, on Wednesday, September 9, where he is to perform a show fashioned from his last two Edinburgh offerings. Box office: 01325 363135.
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Title Annotation:What's On
Publication:The Chronicle (Newscastle upon Tyne, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 3, 2015
Words:855
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