“I’d started off as a street performer; then moved into the comedy circuit, performing on cruise ships and doing corporate work.”
“Then, I realised that the more successful I got, the more I hated what I did. So 2 years ago, I decided to start again.”
Luckily, Mat’s reinvention coincided with the resurgence of interest in new cabaret and variety. And his new Edinburgh show – Three Balls And A New Suit – tells the story of all the ups and down of his journey from street to stage: via the medium of some witty comedy – and of course some mind-boggling juggling skills.
“I think audiences remember variety shows from years ago and look back at them fondly,” he says. “And now I feel part of a little family of performers, with our own following.”
“I remember the days when all your promotion consisted of was a single 8×10 photograph and a typewritten CV. Now, with the likes of Twitter and Facebook, you can connect with audiences much easier. After a gig in London last night, for instance, I received several messages from people who were there saying how much they enjoyed it.”
Mat was last in Edinburgh in 2010, with a work-in-progress which he’s now developed into this year’s show.
“It was Tricity Vogue’s fault,” he says. “She bought me a cocktail one night and said ‘you have to do a show in Edinburgh!’ – so I did.”
“I really enjoyed it last year,” he recalls. “I got picked up by a producer and asked to come back, so I must have been doing something right!”
“And this year, I think I’m guesting on every single show! I’ll be performing on the streets again, then in my own show, and also in Vive le Cabaret too – which starts 10 minutes before my own show finishes! I’m currently on a hardcore fitness regime – I’m treating preparing for Edinburgh like a boxer!”
Mat is looking forward to also seeing some of his cabaret friends at the Fringe.
“Sarah-Louise Young, Dusty Limits, Frisky & Mannish, Mr B: they’re all good friends of mine now.”
“It’s as if I’d waited 25 years for the scene to arrive, just so I could be in it!” he laughs.
“And now, after having started again on my own terms – I’m happy.”
Three Balls and a New Suit runs at The Voodoo Rooms from 3-28 August at 21:40. More details are on the Fringe website.