Cabaret & Variety review: Colin Cloud: Exposé

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“This show is all about exposing the human condition,” proclaims Colin Cloud during his latest production demonstrating his skills of persuasion and deduction.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Underbelly Med Quad (Venue 302)

It’s not quite clear by the end what that exposure consists of but there are some beguiling tricks along the way.

Looking dapper in a Sherlock Holmes-Doctor Who sort of way – trimmed beard and double-breasted waistcoat – Cloud specialises in seeming to read the minds of audience members, identifying information selected from the Fringe programme or people’s written descriptions of their dreams.

It’s skilful stuff, punctuated by his excited affirmation “yes!” when he gets something right. Aside from harping on the notion of women being liars, his patter tends to revolve around motivational-speaking ideas, telling us “you are the main character in your own life” although sometimes “a random extra is propelled into a starring role”. There isn’t much clarity in the climactic routine, in which Cloud supposedly injects himself with poison: the mechanics of the operation are foggy.

You also need to leave almost half an hour on top of the official running time to see the whole thing. Entertaining, then, but not entirely persuasive.

Until 28 August. Today 9pm.