Edinburgh Fringe Interview – Mat Ricardo

What are you planning for the people of Edinburgh this August?

Dropped jaws, plain and simple. An hour full of feats of dexterity so unlikely that when my audience members describe them to their friends, their friends will assume that they are liars. Oh, and comedy too, otherwise that’d just be the worst kind of showing off…

What is it about the Fringe that makes you want to perform here?

Well, it’s the location of the venue on all my flyers and posters, so if I didn’t, that’d annoy a lot of people.

What’s the best/weirdest thing you’ve ever seen or done at the festival?

Macaroni pies.

Describe your perfect audience member?

Honestly, anyone – I’ve been doing this a while, and I’ve played to pretty much every kind of person in the world – all I want in my audience are people who want to see my show – simple as that. Boring answer, I know, but anyone who’s bought a ticket to see me is pretty perfect in my eyes, already.

How do you entice people into seeing your show?

Seriously, I’m aware that I’m sometimes a tough sell. I’m a comedian and juggler. I know what images pop into peoples head when they hear the word “juggler”, and I know they’re not always super flattering. But the upside to that is, pretty much everyone who takes a punt on me will leave the venue with their opinions changed. So, I guess my enticement strategy would be simple: “Wanna see something you’ve never seen before, before your very eyes, that will make you do a double-take so fast you’ll get vertigo? Give me a shot”

What’s the best/worst heckle a Fringe audience has thrown at you?

There’s no such thing as a good heckle. Sorry. I’ve spent nearly thirty years honing my craft, and if some drunk smartass in the back row didn’t turn up for all those rehearsals, then he’s sure as hell not going to be part of the show.

If someone suddenly made you The Boss of the Fringe and you could do anything you wanted with it, what would you do?

Hmmm. Sometimes the overwhelming dominance of seemingly 12 year old white male stand-ups leaves me a little cold and jaded, but bless ’em, who am I to get between their skinny jeans and Mock The Week? It’s easy to whinge, but the fringe is generally just fine – there’s still enough insane venues where you can find astonishing, hard to define work, that nobody has ever heard of – you just need to seek it out.

You’ve just been trapped in an elevator with a ‘critic’ who panned your debut show. How would the next hour go? You also might happen to have an Ikea mini ironing board with you.

Heh. I love how ‘critic’ is in quotation marks, as if the fact that they panned my show must call into question their status as a critic.

I’m lucky, I’ve never really been panned, the worst I’ve had was a couple of critics kinda implying that being a juggler isn’t actually a thing, which seems a hilariously oblique angle to approach a show about juggling from. But, to answer your question, I guess it would depend on exactly how I’d been panned – if they’d raised specific points, then it would be genuinely interesting to discuss them, so that perhaps we could both learn a thing or two – I’ve done this with critics in the past, and it’s always been useful. However, if they’d just been a dick, then I’d ignore them and iron my shirt. The humidity of being in a lift with that amount of hot air would wrinkle it to a shocking degree.

With exception to your own show, who do you recommend people go see?

Lili La Scala’s “Another Fucking Variety Show” is the obvious choice here. You want to see what all the hubbub about the return of cabaret and variety is about? Go see this show. Full disclosure, I’m often in it, but so are some of the absolute best cabaret performers in the world. It’s a bobby dazzler.

In terms of other stuff – I’d say just turn to the sections of the fringe guide you wouldn’t usually look at. If you’re a stand up fan, go see some dance. If you like serious theatre, then take a chance on a clown show. There’s so much at the fringe, that it’s the perfect opportunity to find something that you’d never ever find anywhere else, so have a go at doing that.

 

MAT RICARDO: SHOWMAN
Pleasance Dome, 20.10, until 16th August

 

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