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The Boy With Tape On His Face: More Tape (tour - Cambridge, Guildhall)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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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.


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