mat ricardo vs the world
ON TOUR NOW
"UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF THE GREATEST VARIETY ARTISTS WORKING TODAY...A MASTER OF HIS FORM"
FOUR STARS - THE SCOTSMAN
"THE BEST VARIETY ACT IN THE BUSINESS...A MAN WHO IS MOST COMFORTABLE DOING THE SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE IN FRONT OF AN ENRAPTURED AUDIENCE"
FIVE STARS - BROADWAY BABY
praise for "mat ricardo vs the world"
"Undoubtedly one of the greatest variety artists at work today, Mat Ricardo is an outstanding juggler and much more beside.
As well as showcasing superbly realised feats of dexterity, Ricardo’s shows are underpinned by his deep knowledge and love of variety forms and histories, his endearingly barbed and quick-witted relationship with the audience, and his willingness to express what performance means to him personally, often in courageously vulnerable ways. All of these qualities are to the fore in Mat Ricardo vs the World, a high-concept show a year in the making. After three decades in the business, Ricardo invited the public to challenge him to learn some new tricks; this show gives us the highly impressive fruits of his resulting efforts. Without giving away too many specific details, some new tricks offer variations on the kind of juggling, balancing and fast-handed expertise that is Ricardo’s stock in trade while others take him further afield.
There’s a brilliantly tense routine inspired by an action movie, flirtations with forms adjacent to juggling such as magic and escapology and novel takes on golfing and cup-stacking. It’s all performed in a small basement room whose sightlines aren’t all they could be, requiring a certain amount of neck-craning and even seat-standing. The close quarters do give an extra frisson to the work, though: one trick provoked the purest gasp I’ve ever heard at such a show. Ricardo puts the room’s video screen to judicious use too. As well as showcasing technical expertise, Ricardo makes clear how this kind of work, this kind of challenge, literally helps keep him sane, providing a functional way of playing his generalanxiety disorder off against his obsessive compulsive disorder in a “mental health death match” that happens to yield a compelling performance. It makes for another great show from a master of his form."
the scotsman. four stars.
"When you’re considered the best at what you do, some of us might rest on our laurels but Mat Ricardo wants (indeed, needs) new challenges. So, he invited the world (via the open forum of Twitter) to set him the task of learning ten new tricks in one year which he would then perform at the Fringe. A few ground rules were set to protect life and dignity and off he went learning everything from dice stacking to knife throwing but, as he is a master entertainer, nothing is as simple as it seems.
As well as the consistently excellent new skills, Ricardo takes time to remind us why he’s the best with some incredible juggling and a couple of excellent new takes on his signature tablecloth trick. Ricardo is a man obsessed with the process of learning new skills and his desire to share this with an audience is an ongoing theme of his Fringe shows. This year he has shown that the skill he has mastered above all others is that of the showman.
Where this show flies is in the charm and banter that floods from Ricardo. He’s a man who is obviously most comfortable doing something seemingly impossible in front of an enraptured audience. His street performer roots are apparent in his ability to work the crowd; alternately badgering and endearing us to clap or not depending on his whims. He’s performing a bunch of tricks and skills that could easily go wrong and he’s not afraid to admit when they do. It only encourages us to cheer all the louder when things go right.
Mat Ricardo is often described as the best variety act in the business and deservedly so. He refers to himself throughout the show as a Vaudeville Schmuck and it’s easy to imagine that, had he been around in the days of Music Hall; he’d have been an international celebrity, topping the bill at venues worldwide."