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Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2011 arrow Mat Ricardo: Three Balls And A New Suit
Mat Ricardo: Three Balls And A New Suit


The Voodoo Rooms (venue website)
3-7, 9-14, 16-21, 23-28 Aug, 9:40pm-10:40pm

 Recommended for age 18+ only. Venue may not permit under-18's - check with venue before booking.


Walk through Edinburgh on a Fringe afternoon, and you’ll find any number of bizarrely-dressed street performers perched on the top of ladders – juggling ever-more-hazardous objects, and showboating their hearts out to the acclaim of the appreciative crowds.  But away from the noisy, jostling Royal Mile, entertainer Mat Ricardo can afford to skip the chainsaws and flaming torches, choosing instead to build his indoor show around a subtler, more skilful routine.  When we saw his act in 2010, he balanced tea-cups, tossed cigar boxes, and spun the obligatory bowler hat; he didn’t just whip the tablecloth from under his dinner-set, he even put it back on again.

But, impressive though the tricks certainly are, they’re not really what this show’s about: the antics are accompanied by a compelling, highly personal story, which earned Ricardo a 5* write-up from our reviewer last year.  Filled with bittersweet reminiscences of a life spent travelling, it describes a career which – by its very success – ultimately deprived Ricardo of the things he valued the most.  His hilarious (and often racy) anecdotes offer welcome relief from the hints of inner darkness, and while we’re sure his tales have been embellished in the telling, there’s plenty of raw material in this born-entertainer’s colourful life.

It’s a chance to cheer for the underdog, too, as the script turns repeatedly to one unanswerable question: why do we value performers on the street so much less than those on the stage?  After an hour spent in Ricardo’s curiously charming company, you won’t make that mistake again.  For his skills but, more than that, for his story, Mat Ricardo merits a wildcard slot in anyone’s Fringe schedule.

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