On the surface, it would appear that Shin Lim truly is limitless. After all, the 30-year-old magician has already achieved massive success in just a few short years. He has been crowned America’s Got Talent’s champion twice, and his show at The Mirage in Las Vegas is a smashing hit. But is Shin Lim really limitless? Or does he have limitations after all?
I don’t watch America’s Got Talent, so I wasn’t familiar with Shin Lim or Colin Cloud before seeing the show. If you’re like me and don’t watch AGT, you probably don’t know much about Shin and Colin either.
About Shin Lim
Shin Lim is best known for his card manipulation and sleight of hand tricks. Music, lights, and smoke compliment his elaborate close-up card routines. He doesn’t speak throughout his tricks, giving them a mysterious feel. Shin Lim is unique in his ability to incorporate modern technology into his card routines. He uses an iPhone to project videos onto a large screen, adding an extra layer of complexity to his illusions.
Shin Lim’s background
Lim, a self-taught artist, learned many of his skills by watching YouTube videos. He originally was educated to be a concert pianist, then took up magic after severe carpal tunnel syndrome made playing the piano too painful. Lim has learned card manipulation, close-up magic, and stage illusions through online videos.
Lim describes his approach to magic as more of an artistic show. He was quoted by The Boston Globe in 2018 saying, “I’m trying to change the outlook on card magic—to make it more artistic, more visual.” He considers his magic approach similar to playing the piano. Timing is a critical element for nearly all of his tricks, hence the heavy use of music during the show.
Shin has admitted to using unique decks of cards like blank cards and decks with special finishes to make them easier to manipulate. However, he does not consider these decks to be rigged. Instead, he believes that these decks allow him to perform better card tricks because they are easier to control.
About Colin Cloud
Colin Cloud, also featured in the show, is a Scottish stage mentalist who describes himself as a forensic mind reader. He, like Lim, has made multiple appearances on “America’s Got Talent.” Cloud’s act revolves around correctly guessing personal information about audience members, such as their hometown or favorite pet. His performances are so convincing that he has fooled even the most notable judges, like Simon Cowell.
Cloud began his career by studying forensic investigation and criminal profiling at university. He was interested in understanding how the human mind works and what motivates people to commit crimes. However, he eventually abandoned that field to pursue a career in the entertainment world. He is now a successful YouTuber and Twitch streamer with over 1 million followers on each platform. His main inspiration was the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes because of his ability to read people.
Lim and Colin are a great duo, as Colin is a hilarious addition to “Limitless.” Cloud acts as host or MC of the performance and does his own routine in-between each of Shin Lim’s acts. Colin is exceptionally entertaining and brings great energy to the stage. His jokes are funny, and he keeps the audience engaged.
A Few Good Tricks
I don’t want to give too much away about the show, but I’ll share a couple of my favorite tricks without spoiling anything for future audience members. First, the 90-minute show opens with a card trick in which the entire audience participates. Throughout the 1,100-seat theatre, there is a set of 4 random, cellophane-wrapped playing cards at each seat. I will call this trick “2 Halves”.
Shin starts the act by asking you to take out the cards and tear them in half. At this point, you have eight halves of cards facing down. Next, he will ask you to shuffle them and then randomly pick one out of the middle to throw over your shoulder. Similar steps continue to occur until only two card halves remain. The results are impressive! Afterward, Lim explains that the trick works for about 90% of participants. As luck would have it, I was part of the 10% for whom the trick did not work. Regardless, I still found it impressive because it did work for everyone else around me. The most remarkable part of this trick is that everyone can manipulate their cards as they wish, yet the outcome can still be so consistent.
Colin Cloud’s show opener
Colin’s opening act is a fantastic number trick, with a super cool ending. First, he invites anyone in the crowd with a calculator on their phone to join along on. Then he asks the audience for all kinds of random numbers; numbers are multiplied and added seemingly at random. He then brings someone up on stage to randomly enter a 10-digit number into the calculator with their eyes closed as the final step. The result is a message to the audience that left us all gasping. It was surreal to hear nearly 1,100 people take a deep breath all at once, proceeded by “How did he do that?” everywhere around you. As with Shin Lim’s opening act, this one left me scratching my head in confusion.
More on “Limitless”
When Shin Lim takes the stage, be prepared to witness some awe-inspiring card tricks. For starters, entire decks of cards seem to disappear before your eyes. Then, cards will defy gravity and change suits seemingly at will. Some cards even reveal messages or images that Shin has secretly hidden on them. But perhaps the most jaw-dropping trick of all is when Shin Lim places a ripped playing card in his mouth – and somehow manages to restore it to its original condition!
We sat in the back row of the center section on the aisle. Initially, I was a little skeptical that seats in the back row for a magic show would be worth it. However, we purchased tickets the day of the show, so this was all we could get on such short notice. I was pleasantly surprised by our view; it was fine. I still felt engaged in the show and did not feel like I was losing out by being in the back. On the contrary, someone sitting in the seat directly in front of us got called upon during the show. One of the final tricks of the show happened very near us well.
Video review of “Limitless” by Shin Lim
Check out this video we made for the Vegas Showbiz YouTube channel!
Overall, I thought Limitless was excellent and worth seeing! I would recommend it to anyone over six years old. It was a lot of fun, had a high level of engagement, and was extremely impressive. I most definitely enjoyed the duo of magicians. The two work incredibly well together, offering very different acts. If Colin Cloud ever gets a show of his own here in Vegas, I will be sure to see it!