Mat Ricardo is a world-class gentleman juggler. He has performed on three continents, he has headlined variety shows and he spent a month hanging out in Tokyo with the man who played Monkey in Monkey.
For a few nights at the Etcetera Theatre, Ricardo is presenting his one-man show, Three Balls And A Good Suit (Tales From The Life Of A Jaded Novelty Act). He starts by taking us back to his schooldays in Enfield where, given the career choice of being a social worker or an undertaker, Ricardo went with a third option: busking. He describes the life of a busker, seeing it an amazing business model which shouldn’t work but it does; if it was pitched on Dragon’s Den, “they would literally be queuing up to punch you in the cock.”
There’s no doubting Ricardo’s talent as a juggler or a comedian. Like famed juggler Enrico Rastelli, Ricardo concentrates his well-honed skills on only a few props – balls, cigar boxes, throwing knives – but conjures some fantastic entertainment from them. If you think this is hyperbole, consider this -every year, Britain’s Got Talent writes to him inviting him on and every year he declines gracefully: “I have no desire to be fodder in your shiny-floored light entertainment slaughterhouse.”
Even when a trick goes slightly wrong, Ricardo covers with a ready gag and a smile – damn it, this man is more likeable than an unexpected lottery win. And that’s his forte: whether he is describing sexual escapades on a cruise ship, the ultimate heckle or a case of mistaken identity with a Department of Homeland Security officer, he carries us with him as assuredly as any stand-up we’ve seen. Through this show, Ricardo wants to be able to give up the variety shows, the cruise ships and the travel and spend more time with his wife, his home and his cat. We wish him all the best with that.
Mat Ricardo’s one man show “MAT RICARDO: THREE BALLS AND A GOOD SUIT” will be at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden from until March 6th. Tickets are £8 and can be booked online here. For more information, you can ring the Etcetera Box office 0207 482 4857.
For a flavour of his act, check out Mat Ricardo's show reel: