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Facilitators of Mirth

Mat Ricardo

Biography

Mat Ricardo

Awards & competitions

Mat Ricardo

Appearances & credits

Mat Ricardo

Writing credits

Mat Ricardo

Media & press

Biography

Mat Ricardo is one of Europe’s most in-demand comedy variety performers. He is a TedX Speaker, Magic Circle doyen, Royal Command Performer, the winner of the Herald Angel Award for theatre excellence, British Cabaret Award for Best Speciality Act, Stagetalk Magazine's Show of the Year, and the Arts Award Pick of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

"Immensely skilled and very funny"
– Time Out

 

"Mat Ricardo is amazing"
– HRH Prince Charles

 

"A thoroughly entertaining show that kept us on the edge of our seats"
– Broadway Baby ★★★★

 

The Gentleman Juggler, leading speciality act of the British cabaret revival and the UK’s most successful juggler, presents big laughs, serious skills, slapstick, and breathtaking spectacle. Mat presents genuine danger, dexterous elegance, and thrills, performed by a man at the top of his game.

Since helping to spearhead the resurgence of new circus and variety in the late 1980’s, Mat has gone on to headline theatres across Europe, appear at countless international variety and comedy festivals, and on some of the finest cabaret and burlesque stages in the world. He has entertained corporate clients too numerous to mention, as well as members of the Royal Family.

"He is charming and impeccably dressed, he has incredible skills and an admirable respect for the craft from which he now makes his living. Mat Ricardo is a Gentleman Juggler. And very witty with it...a funny, impressive, always entertaining show,..If you like your comedy with skills and more than a little genuine risk of amputation, try Mat Ricardo" – Kate Copstick, The Scotsman ★★★★

 

Alongside his prolific live work as both performer and director, he has made many high profile television appearances, most notably as a regular cast member on three series of ITV1’s “Moment of Truth”, and as a special guest on BBC1’s “The Slammer”. More recently he was the first variety performer to be invited as a guest on ITV1’s “The Jonathan Ross Show”, performed and talked about variety on “The Alan Titchmarsh Show”, is the star of the famous “Unum tablecloth trick” TV ad campaign, and appeared on new primetime BBC1 Magic Show 'Now Your See It'. His appearance in October on prime time Italian TV show 'Tu Si Que Vales', was a smash hit, with the four judges unanimous in their decision to send him to the next round. Watch here

Mat has taught ‘Superman’ Henry Cavill tricks for the Guy Ritchie movie ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E’, and tutored Hollywood heavyweight Jude Law on set.

With his first one man show, 2011’s “Three Balls and a new Suit”, he became the first ever cabaret artist to win the Herald Angel award for excellence in theatre.

"Utterly gobsmacking …surpassed all expectations and went down an absolute storm" – Mark Tattersall, Dorchester Corn Exchange

 

"Relentless hilarious, jaw-dropping fun…Ricardo’s smooth wit drives the show at full speed. The actual tricks are as stunning for their mastery as for their ingenious conception. You’ll struggle to find a show more tightly packed with cunning humour and spellbinding amusement" – ER Magazine

 

As one of the busiest acts on the European cabaret scene, he was named Best Speciality Act in the inaugural British Cabaret Awards, along with receiving a nomination for Best Overall Show. That same year, his second one man show “Vaudeville Schmuck” played to a sell-out run in London and received five star reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

"It takes more than dexterity to bring this timeless art to the forefront. It takes dazzling showmanship, spot-on comic timing and bucket-loads of style. It takes Mat Ricardo" – ER Magazine

 

His critically acclaimed and award-nominated West End “London Varieties” project mixed legendary names from the world of light-entertainment with some of the hottest young variety and circus acts, and consolidated his position at the forefront of the British variety revival.

"This circus star is a unique and unmissable showman" – EdFest Mag

 

"Probably the best juggler you will ever see" – What’s On Stage

 

"As a dapperly dressed gentleman juggler, his props include cigar boxes, snooker cues, silverware and – in a signature trick – tablecloths. His dexterity is captivating, whether he’s sending coloured bottles spinning like fireworks or manipulating a hat, cane and wine glass in an elegant routine that borders on dance – one of several bits perfectly timed to a musical track." – The Scotsman

 

His hour long show “Showman”, which premièred at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2013, and returned due to huge public demand in 2014, received some of the best reviews of his career, completed a week-long sell-out London West End run, was invited back for a three date run at the London Mime Festival 2015, and toured nationally and internationally.

In 2017, Mat was asked to give a prestigeous TedX talk at Kings College London, an opportunity he relished and which propelled him into the Speaker market. Mat is a prolific writer, adding pieces to his website about Variety, performance, and life, from his perspective. Mat recently became Ambassador for arts/mental health website Mental Ideas.

"A minor legend... We left feeling rather richer to have spent an hour basking in his warm and commanding presence"
– Total Theatre

 

"categorically one of the best shows I have ever seen. If you have the opportunity to go and see this show, you should totally, completely 100% go see it. In fact, stop reading this review and go book a ticket now…a show that has you going from the edge of your seat one moment, to roaring with laughter, and then straight back to tension! quite incredible." – Arts Award Voice

 

"real aplomb, terrific humour and genuine skill. This showman deserves your applause." – The Guardian

 

In 2018, Mat supported the living legend Brian Conley on his huge UK tour, and joined Mentalist Colin Cloud, as a special guest, on tour this Autumn.

Mat is currently on a UK tour with his brand new show 'Mat Ricardo Vs The World' - reaching venues nationwide. This follows an incredibly successful, completely sold out, run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018. The show added extra shows to its run, due to the huge demand, and the show received some incredible reviews.

The concept of the show was that as the UK’s most successful juggler, Mat had a problem – after a 30-year career as the go-to guy for jaw-dropping dexterity, he'd run out of new tricks. So he bet everyone in the world that he could learn any trick they could think of, devoting the next year to attempting to learn them well enough to perform in front of a live audience

This one-man variety show – world-class juggling, magic and illusion, escapology, sleight of hand, knife throwing, stand-up comedy, feats of strength, demonstrations of dexterity, captured audiences attention like no other

"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...

The skill he has mastered above all others is that of the showman. 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.

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.." – ★★★★★Broadway Baby
Read the full review here

 

"A quintessential showman and self-described "vaudeville schmuck", Ricardo's variety act is normally defined by faultless delivery and impeccable preparation; but this time around, he's knocked away those supports, and gives us instead a portrait of raw endeavour." – ★★★★★Fringe Guru
Read the full review here

 

"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.. one trick provoked the purest gasp I’ve ever heard at such a show. It makes for another great show from a master of his form." – ★★★★The Scotsman
Read the full review here

 

Stay up to date with Mat's latest shows and tours here, and his adventures on our news page

Awards/Competitions

KleinKunst Award winner, Sparkasse Festival 2016

Herald Angel Award winner

Inaugural London Cabaret Award winner: Best Speciality Act

Arts Award Voice Pick of the Fringe Award 2014

Best Speciality Act Award nominee, London Cabaret Awards 2015

Appearances & credits

Festivals:

A selection of the numerous festivals Mat has performed at:

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018

Street Performers Festival, Canada 2016

Udderbelly Festival, Hong Kong 2016

London International Mime Festival, Southbank Centre, 2014 and 2015

Busan Festival, Korea

Holmfirth Arts Festival

Jesterval Comedy Festival

Birmingham Cabaret Festival

Brighton Fringe Festival

Canterbury Festival

Jyväskylä Festival, Finland

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Adelaide Fringe

Porsgrunn International theatre festival

Augsburg international theatre festival

Yokohama Daidogei festival, Japan.

British Arts festival, Korea

Andersen theatre festival, Italy

Fremantle arts festival, Australia

Christchurch World Buskers festival, New Zealand

Toronto Buskerfest, Canada

Kleinesfest, Hannover, Germany

Belfast festival of Fools

Limburg arts Festival

Television & film:

Tu Si Que Vales - 2018 - Italy

Paul Daniels - My Life in Magic. 2017 - Channel 5

Duck Quacks Dont Echo. 2015 - Sky1

The People's Strictly Come Dancing. 2015 - BBC1

Now You See It. 2015 - BBC1

The Jonathan Ross Show. ITV

Unum "Back up plan" national ad campaign

The Alan Titchmarsh Show. ITV

Lets Do Lunch with Gino & Mel. ITV

The Slammer. BBC1

Edinburgh Nights. BBC2

Semi-regular on all series of Cilla Black's Moment Of Truth. ITV

Film:

Funny Bones. Disney

Currently appearing at:

Currently appearing at International Street and Arts Festivals Worldwide, touring his solo show and performing at Corprorate and private events 

Writing credits

Cabaret Correspondent for the Chortle website - monthly piece on the Variety industry

Writer and Ambassador for Arts / Mental health website Mental Ideas

 

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