The Tape Face Show | Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett
review star review star review star review half star review blank star

The Tape Face Show

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Tape Face hasn’t just been counting his money since starting his three-year residency in Las Vegas on the back of his America’s Got Talent success. During his downtime, the Kiwi behind the kohl eyes, stripey jumper and gaffer tape, Sam Wills, been putting together a new hour-long show, which is getting its world premiere in Edinburgh, back where his march to the big time started in earnest.

We know now what to expect, of course: a speechless, prop-heavy salute to the art of being playful, with audience interactions that are designed to celebrate, not belittle the participants.

The downside of being unique, though, is that there’s no one to compare Tape Face to other than himself. And while The Tape Face Show offers plenty of fun, the magic of his earlier shows seems slightly diluted.

The main change is the loss of his surprise inventiveness, where common-or-garden objects from oven gloves to toilet seats, would suddenly transform into something else thanks to the power of his imagination. But here, he tends to use things that are already toys: once a stapler would become a gun, for example, now he just uses a Nerf gun. 

Almost every skit is a throwback to childhood: paper aeroplanes, a kite, a pillow fight, and a game of extreme swingball that’s uproariously fun. And while we’re regressing, the baby with tape on his face is an ingenious delight.

However, the demonic phone call device is confusing, and seems only to exist to ape the melodrama of the ominous big red button that worked so well in his earlier shows, and led to his most memorable finale. Here the showstopper that puts Tape Face in the eye of the storm, is visually impressive, but doesn’t emerge organically from what’s gone before, or even make much sense.

But just bask in Wills’ innocent charm,  spectacle and playfulness and you’ll do fine.

Review date: 10 Aug 2018
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.