Boy With Tape On His Face

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Sam Wills can’t be prosecuted under any trades description laws. The Boy With The Tape On His Face is just that – a show he performs with a strip of duct tape on his face – or, more precisely, over his mouth.

So muted, he performs an hour of mime, but thankfully there’s not an imaginary strong breeze, heavy suitcase or glass-sized box to be had. Instead, he instigates a series of silly, often intricate, visual gags and good-natured audience participation.

It’s very artfully done, but the effects tend to be admirable, rather than hilarious. You can easily be impressed by the invention here, but less frequently moved to laughter.

The comedy of shanghaiing volunteers into performing embarrassing scenes on stage tends to be an especially easy option – though the ‘no talking’ rule certainly complicates things for Wills. But the effect is still the same: ‘Look at those idiots acting out the dance moves to Blame It On The Boogie! Thank god that wasn’t me!’

Wills, who is charming, mischievous and engaging performer, does this with no malice or air of superiority, and he’s cunning enough to disguise exactly what stunt his victims are taking part in to the last minute, so producing an pleasing surprise ‘reveal’. But your enjoyment of these sections of the show is likely to depend on your attitude to audience participation, however creatively he packages it, and to simply copycat parody.

Another of his favourite gags is to make inanimate objects ‘sing’ to the backing track – anything from an envelope to a pair of shoes to a computer mouse, they’re all manipulated to this end. Again, they’ll easily elicit a smile – even a round of applause in acknowledgement of the ingenuity – but like much of his show, doesn’t connect enough emotionally to really grab the funny bone. His Stevie Wonder was good, though…

And that’s it, really: an agreeable series of well-executed set pieces with a touch of vaudeville and a neat gimmick tying them together.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

What do you think?

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.