Reviewer: Clare Howdon
Following on from a successful storming of the USA, performer Sam Wills is returning to his Edinburgh Festival Fringe roots with a brand new and eagerly awaited show.
Starting off at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010 and bagging the prestigious Foster’s comedy award nomination for Best Newcomer, The Boy with Tape on his Face has gone from strength to strength, reaching the final of America’s Got Talent, a critically acclaimed season in London’s West End and landing himself a three-year residency in Las Vegas.
It is concerning that perhaps Will’s new offering won’t quite meet the high expectations but thankfully The Tape Face Show has all the charm and joy of his earlier work.
As with most previous pieces, The Tape Face Show effectively mixes circus, variety, mime, audience interaction and clowning into an hour of unadulterated fun and it is, as always, performed with masterful ease and skill, building up an effortless rapport with both the audience and willing participants. After all, who doesn’t enjoy watching an audience member spontaneously and repeatedly breaking into the ‘twist’ or firing foam balls into a basket?
There is something delightfully child-like about the work and The Tape Face Show is no exception. Through the creatively fashioned costumes (the tennis ball helmet being a favourite) and handmade props lovingly dumped into some simple cardboard boxes, one cannot help but retreat into the depths of childish imagination and it is impossible not be completely swept up in world of play and pretend that Wills has expertly created.
Of course, much of The Tape Face Show’s success is down to Wills mesmerising performance. Restricted to just eye and hand gestures due to the trademark tape over the mouth, he comes into his own as a physical performer of the highest calibre. The Tape Face Show is a bizarre, enrapturing and eclectic evening of theatre and one certainly not be missed.
Runs until 26 August 2018 | Image: Contributed