Mat Ricardo is a juggler with 35 years’ experience performing in front of audiences all over the world. He is keenly aware that his artform may not be respected, and may even be ridiculed in some circles, but Ricardo is a reminder that for a time, variety jugglers dominated the entertainment world and were among the hardest-working acts on the circuit. Now Ricardo is filling the position as the hardest-working juggler in the business.
It’s obvious that we’re in the presence of a Showman
As we enter, Ricardo is dancing in the corner. I can’t help but wonder if this is because he literally cannot stand still. He seems like a man who needs to always be doing something; an obsessive who needs to be learning new skills, partaking in new experiences and, luckily for us, sharing those skills and experiences on stage.
It’s obvious that we’re in the presence of a Showman, the banter flows freely, there are perfect asides and bons mots as he interacts with the audience. Any little flub (such as his mic not being turned on) is instantly turned into a source of witty jokes. If a juggling ball goes astray, he’s got a quick response to roll it back into the act and it’s clear that he demands a level of perfection from himself – which explains why he’s one of the best. Throughout the juggling and sideshow routines, Ricardo rarely stops speaking, interspersing the gags and explanations of the routines with fascinating titbits and genuinely interesting facts.
At the start of the show, Ricardo promises to show us something we’ve never seen before. As someone who has seen a lot of jugglers, and indeed has seen Mat Ricardo perform more than once, I’m confident that I may actually have seen it before, yet he still manages to make me gasp, laugh, applaud, and boggle. Ricardo might be a man out of time. In the age of Vaudeville he’d have been a superstar and frankly, he deserves to be a superstar now.