Mat Ricardo – Showman

Reviewer's Rating


When I set out to review a juggler performing at the Purcell Room of Queen Elisabeth Hall, I expected a complicated and heart-stopping act embellished with high-tech gimmicks. I was definitely not disappointed with the “Gentleman Juggler” with a comedic flare that I got instead.

What is a Gentleman Juggler? An immaculately dressed so-called gentleman, who performs juggling and balancing feats with everyday objects. The genre was at its height in the 1920s variety shows. Mat Ricardo as per specification is elegantly dressed and his props are cigar boxes, canes, cue sticks, cutlery and … bowling balls. Machetes on the other hand, should never be used for juggling.

He is both an excellent joggler and a successful comedian. Self-deprecating and witty, he knows how to build up the audience’s expectations and then pull the rug from under its feet. One minute you are sitting at the edge of your seat and the next laughing with his cheek. He gives lectures on juggling history, explains why under no circumstances should he be called a magician, and rants about flairing – the art of joggling barware, bar tools and drink bottles.

He spills a few craft secrets, taking all the terror off chainsaw juggling, and I would prefer his high-grade shtick to have been slightly trimmer, but it is most definitely a neatly-put together show. Skilful, funny and captivating.