EVERYONE has seen the trick where a tablecloth is removed without disturbing what is on the table, but have you seen the tablecloth put back on the same way?
It is one of Honor Oak juggler and comedian Mat Ricardo’s specialities. That and juggling electric carving knives jammed to on.
Mat, who used to share a Covent Garden pitch with Eddie Izzard doing street performance, told Vibe: “I pride myself on trying to learn tricks that haven’t been done before or at least haven’t been done for a couple of hundred years.
“I always try to do something brand new or take an old trick and give it a modern spin.”
The tablecloth trick, he said, came about as a joke.
He said: “Everybody knows the first part of that trick, so I thought ‘how would I top that?’
“You have weeks and weeks when you can’t get it out of your head and you think ‘I just meant it as a joke’ but what if it’s possible.
“Then you think about if it is possible, how would you do it? That’s the point when you think, well, it would be great but then it would be great to be able to fly.
“I remember the first time I got it half right and realised it would be possible. Oh my god, it was a good day.
“These days I can do it in my sleep but it took maybe four or five years of practice so it works every time.
“What a waste of an adult life!”
For his next trick, much to his wife’s consternation, Mat decided to play around with motorised knives.
“Everybody knows that jugglers juggle knives,” he said. “But they just look nasty.”
He found cordless carving knives on the internet.
“It was the singlemost terrifying thing I have done,” he said. “When I did it for the first time on stage I was literally shaking. It was great.”
Mat is fulfilling his childhood dream to bring variety back to the West End with a series of shows at the Leicester Square Theatre, as well as a bonus show in a marquee on July 13 for Lewisham People’s Day.
His next show in the West End (on June 27) features comedians Jimmy Cricket, Jenny Eclair, mouth juggler Rod Laver and acrobats So and So Circus.
He said: “I have been a travelling comedian for about 26 years now and I was basically born at the wrong time.
“I have worked everywhere you could squeeze a juggler into – street corners to cruise ships, corporate events, comedy clubs, end of pier shows and holiday camps.
“After a while it gets a little tiring.”
He added: “This is my attempt to bring the genre back to life a little and remind people how intoxicating and fun it can be."
Tickets cost £15 or £12 for concessions. Go to leicestersquaretheatre.com or call 0844733433.
For information about Lewisham People’s Day, go to facebook.com/peoples.day