Monday, 22 September 2014

AFVS at the London Wonderground


The aforementioned AFVS standing, of course, for "Another Fucking Variety Show", the pirate ship of cabaret, captained by Lili La Scala, in which I have had a regular spot for the last couple of years in Edinburgh, and which has come to the London Wonderground for a couple of shows. Gang back together, and all that. It's always an amazing show, and one of my favourite backstages to be hanging out in. Especially meaningful to be performing in such a gorgeous venue, when, just a handful of years ago, I was doing street shows, right there on the South Bank, a few feet away.

Great though my iphone is, I felt like taking out the big boy camera for this one. Hope you like what it saw.

Vicky Butterfly

Lili La Scala

Lili and Reuben

Missa Blue


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Short fringe


See what I did there? Fringe. Like hair. No? Fine. Screw you.

Anyway, I brought "Showman" back to the Edinburgh fringe this month for a limited season of sixteen performances - which of course meant that within those two and a bit weeks, I ended up doing a total of fifty five shows, spots and other associated stage-based arsing arounds. Good times. Tiring, but good.

During a chat with the always delightful Hardeep Singh Kohli I heard myself saying that this year I finally felt that I wasn't knocking on the door trying to get into somewhere, but was on the inside, accepted. I'm aware of the slight level of self-involved bollocks that implies, but its the honest truth. This year, although the weather was bad, even for Scotland, and audiences were maybe a little down across the board, it felt a bit easier. The rave, five star reviews, helped. haha.

I certainly had a lot of fun doing my show, and hanging out with gangs of friends from the worlds of street performing, cabaret and comedy. Ahh, the precious nourishment to be gained from created families.

Best moments of the fringe for me: Hurting my knee, getting some painkillers, and then, while under the influence of said painkillers, buying a house. That's a special kind of thrill. Also: Watching Lili La Scala fall off her piano, headfirst into the lap of her pianist, and then just stay there. Cabaret pizza club, of course, and its young spinoff group, the Meltdown society (Deep fried mars bars for the win).

Here's a few things my iphone saw while I was there.


If you do like my photos, then I'm all over instagram, so maybe consider following me there?

 Aaaand the "Showman" tour rolls on - I'm out of the country for a few days, and then I'm bringing the show to the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal on Saturday 30th August. Spread the word and COME!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Mat Ricardo's London Varieties is back online!

After a few technical difficulties, I'm very pleased to say that four episodes of Mat Ricardo's London Varieties are now back online, for anyone to watch, for free. The shows feature some of the most interesting and entertaining people from the world of comedy and variety in conversation and in performance, including - Al Murray, Paul Daniels, Eddie Izzard, The Boy With Tape On His Face, Piff the Magic Dragon, Eastend Cabaret and many more. I'm very proud of them, and I hope you enjoy watching them as much as I enjoyed making them!

mat ricardo's london varieties - Show one from Mat Ricardo on Vimeo.

Mat Ricardo's London Varieties - Show Two - Featuring Al Murray, The Boy With Tape On His Face, and much more from Mat Ricardo on Vimeo.

Mat Ricardos London Varieties - Show Three from Mat Ricardo on Vimeo.

Mat Ricardo's London Varieties - Show Four - featuring Eddie Izzard, Piff the Magic Dragon and much more! from Mat Ricardo on Vimeo.

Feel free to embed to share them wherever and however you like!

And if you like my stuff, come see me at the Edinburgh Fringe, and on tour throughout 2014/15.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Street photography in Italia

Just got back from a delightful work/holiday combo in Italy. Snapped off a few images with the iphone while I was wandering around Milan, and various other places.

Oh, and by the way, if images are your thing, I'm now on instagram, as TheMatRicardo, so come and friend/follow/add/stalk/tolerate/ignore, as appropriate :)

And don't forget...

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

The dark truth of touring with Brian Conley

Ok, ok, there is no dark truth. It was a total delight from beginning to end, and I sumbit the following curtain-call selfie as evidence that a good time was had by all.

Here's the thing about Conley: He is, as we used to occasionally say at Covent Garden about people with a penchant for schtick, "one of us". He thinks of himself as a singer first. "I was born to sing", he says, "and everything else, I learned". But the thing is, that "everything else" covers quite a lot of ground. He is, to start with, a much better singer than you think he is, unless you've seen him in one of the many big musicals he's been in. Boys got pipes. He's also, of course, very funny - a stand-up with funny bones, but also plunges into audience participation, slapstick, fire-eating.. He's a vaudevillian - someone who can turn his hand to pretty much anything. An entertainer. And there ain't too many like that left.

He cut his teeth on Summer seasons, holiday camps and end of the piers, where to cultivate yourself into a swiss army knife of bits of business was the way to ensure a healthy career, and the stuff he started learning back then continues to make him one of the country's most invaluable pantomime performers, as well someone who, when he decides to, can sell out a national tour, which is what he did last month.

And my god, he's a worker. The James Brown of light entertainment, right there, ladies and gentlemen. There's no wasted time at the top of the show, no time spent "getting to know the feel of the room". He bounds on stage with a hearty "I'M HERE!", and literally within five seconds he's jumped off the stage, in knee-deep in the audience, lobbing out gags in between wall-shaking verses of "Let the good times roll". This is a seasoned fighter, bouncing around the ring landing jab after jab, totally able, as they say, to go the full 12.

Near on two and a half hours, minus me doing a quick twenty in the first half, the rest is all him. And its all killer, no filler. Routines polished over a career that spans all his adult life, and a fair bit before that, too.

For the best part of a month we pinballed around the country, doing a show, then driving through the night to wherever the next show was. Lots of grins from late-night garage shop staff as they recognise the face - or just as often the voice - that just strode up to them clutching coffee and a Kit-kat (He likes Kit-kats). 

So, in short, I had a ball. Gorgeous audiences who were totally up for having fun. Some of the most beautiful theatres in the country. Being driven by Brian from gig to gig, while getting a steady stream of excellent andecdotes about the great and the good. What's not to like?

I also deliberately avoided the tour curse of eating crap and putting on weight - running every day (which is a very nice way to have a look around whatever town you happen to have woken up in), and eating healthlily. I actually managed to lose nearly a stone while on tour, which is insane, but here I am giving it a proper middle-aged man brag anyway. Sorry.

The last date was at Leeds City Varieties - one of my favourite rooms in the world, and one I've played enough times that when I rolled up at the stage door, the staff greeted me by name and started teasing me immediately. Nice. Can't think of a more perfect way to end the tour.

Took a few photos while we were on the road - hope you like them..

A prop from the show. Yes, it is, in fact a puppppppettttt.

Always nice to bathe in the glory of the greats who have played a theatre before you

The boss, giving it tits and teeth

Me, giving it "Oh, if I must..."

Warming up backstage

 So thanks to Brian, and Rick and Gareth - the amazing team that put the show together every night - what a blast.

Also thanks to all the audience members who were kind enough to tweet me after shows and tell me how much they enjoyed my work - means so much. I'm spending most of the next few weeks doing some shows in various places abroad, but will head back to the Edinburgh fringe in August for a return season of my critically-acclaimed one man show "Showman". A strictly limited run of 16 shows only, so click here to book your tickets now!