Warm-up comedy acts
are, I'm afraid, one of those things which leave me cold. Phil
Buckley provided the curtain-raiser for Sam Wills' one-man silent
show The Boy With Tape On His Face, which is
currently on an extended tour wreathed in festival plaudits.
It's extremely clever.
Wills wears black tape across the whole of his mouth area throughout,
leaving the comedy to be conveyed by an expressive use of eyes,
gestures and a whole succession of "assistants" pulled out
of the audience. These become involved in the manoeuvring of
balloons, improvised golf clubs and a bath-tap shower hose (for the
extremely funny bullfighting sketch) as well as a Chaplinesque moment
with shoes taking on their own life and an apparently inexhaustible
satchel of incongruous items.
My main criticism would
be that it lasts a little too long with not enough variation of pace.
That said, the crowded Cambridge audience loved every minute of the
show. Wills is a mime artist with the ability to move as well as
humour his audiences. I'd like to see him try.