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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Proud all month

 October, for me, means a residency at Proud Cabaret, which is just around the corner from Fenchurch Street station in the City of London. I'm there from Wednesday to Saturday until the 5th of November, so it made sense to throw the camera in my bag for a couple of nights so that you could see what I see. Which is what you see above.

To get to this gorgeous venue, you step carefully down a dark little staircase lit by big silver candelabras, past walls covered in beautiful photos of glamorous people (...and one of me. Sorry.) and there it is..all smoky atmosphere (thanks to the dry ice), soft warm lights, clinky cocktails and a cool fellow tinkling the ivories pre-show on the stage.

At the moment I'm filling the special guest variety performer position in their new show "Decades". There's a great core cast of dancers, who work their buns off doing group numbers and solos, but the evening is held together by the brilliant Coco DuBois. I can throw around all the hats I like, and the dancers can shimmy until they've got nothing left to shimmy, but this is Coco's show, and we're all just the palate cleansers in between courses of her foundation-shaking belters. Girl can wail, to quote Wayne's World.

I've decided that when I do clubs like Proud, I'm the alibi act. I'll explain. Imagine Person 1 went to the Proud show, and Person 2 is their partner at home, who didn't. The gender's are unimportant. Here's the conversation the next morning...

Person 1:     No, it wasn't a strip joint
Person 2:     Oh really?
Person 1:     Really. It's a floor show. Cabaret. Burlesque.
Person 2:     Let me ask you this - were there women dancing around and taking their clothes off?
Person 1:     Yes.
Person 2:     Were there men dancing around and taking their clothes off?
Person 1:     Yes.
Person 2:     You went to a strip club!
Person 1:     No. Wait. There was a juggler.

See what I'm saying?

Oh yes, and still keep the 9th of February free. Soon there will be news about this. But it's shaping up very well. Very well indeed.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

My fun secret thing...

Monday saw a really fun photoshoot for "Lady Beau Peep's Extraordinary Christmas" which will be at The Brickhouse during December. Lots of cabaret and burlesque monkeys giving a taste of how they do Christmas dinner.

..and yes, everything got soaked in champagne.

Although I have performed at The Brickhouse, this month I have a residency at Proud Cabaret, so every Wednesday to Saturday night for all of October, you'll find me there in a smoky spotlight throwing hats around to Tom Waits. There are worse ways to make a living.

Oh, and there's one more bit of news. Go get your diary. I'll wait. Got it? Good. Ok, now turn to February next year. Ok, I'll wait until you go out and buy next years diary. Back? Right. Turn to February 9th. If you're in, around, or near London - mark down "Mat Ricardo's fun secret thing". Trust me. This is fun, isn't it? More news soon, but for now, keep the date.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Chipping away at the cabaret coalface


 Another little dispatch from clubland. It's been a fun week. Three nights performing at the Brickhouse, as part of "The League of the Extraordinary" (tip to producers - you want to make variety monkeys happy? Imply that they're superheroes..), a show which is closed every night by the flame-haired firecracker Sophia Landi - seen at the top of this post filling the room with sparks. Spectacle, kids.

Found time during the week for a photoshoot with an old friend, Paddy Docherty, who I performed with thirteen years ago in a West End show called "Joey & Gina's Wedding", which was partly improvised, and very, very fun. He's one of those actors who's been in everything and is always rushing between castings and meetings. He's also your go to bloke for dirty jokes.

Friday night, and I was doing my thing at the Cafe De Paris for "La Reve", which is always a gorgeous show to do. Tonight was hosted by Kiki Kaboom, who I am, as any right thinking person is, a huge fan of. One of the great things about working the cabaret circuit is that you get to hang out backstage with other performers who you like and respect. We all watch each others stuff, and there are lots of hugs and kisses. It's all very lovely. It's interesting, therefore, to compare this with the comedy clubs that I also sometimes work. Very different. Not much in the way of hugs and kisses in the world of the stand-up comedian. Much more of a masculine, competitive vibe. Not as fun.

Nice surprise backstage at La Reve was to catch up with Donna, who runs the Itsy Kabaret in Edinburgh - one of the nicest stages I worked during the last Edinburgh festival. Somehow she foudnout that I could play the spoons, so I got press-ganged into teaching her the thing that my granddad taught me thirty-odd years ago. She is wayyy too enthused about playing the spoons and now carries them with her where-ever she goes. I apologise to Scotland in advance.

Then, a rare weekend not working, spent at the seaside. Trifle flavoured ice cream & clifftop walks. Not bad at all. During this little weekend away, two fun things happened. My friends Morgan and West, the Time Travelling Magicians had, a few months ago appeared on "Fool Us!" with Penn & Teller, and had - yes - fooled Penn & Teller. So this weekend they collected their prize, which was, rather wonderfully, a one night spot in P&T's show in Vegas. This is, obviously, awesome. More awesome, from my point of view, was waking up to a torrent of tweets from various people informing me that they'd mentioned me to Teller, who had googled me, watched a bunch of my stuff, and tweeted about me to his quarter of a million followers. Yow. Always been massive fans of P&T, right back from when channel 4 aired their first off-broadway show "Don't Try This At Home", so that gave me quite the wide grin.

Then, on the journey back home Sunday night, my phone started pinging and telling me that the advert I filmed a few weeks ago had started airing, apparently quite a lot. So - sorry about that. Just so you know - 51 takes, and I got the trick right every single time. Oh, and all the people from the ad agency were exactly like they are in Mad Men. Exactly.

If you haven't seen it yet.. <sigh> it is:

And if you're one of the new people following me on twitter or reading this, perhaps you've wound up here after reading Teller's tweet, or you're seduced into googling my name by the heady excitment of an insurance advert, then HELLO! I am nothing like that bloke on telly. I wear nicer suits, am considerably swearier, and make very good sandwiches. That being said, welcome, you can find out more about what I do on my website, or keep an eye on my twitter for upcoming gigs. Get in touch, I'm nice.