Review: The Tape Face Show (Touring)

Thursday 12th September 2019 at Leeds City Varieties.


Tape Face (Sam Wills) is back with his rib-tickling peculiarity, proving that mime remains a winning if under-represented force in the world of comedy. He also proves very nicely that having tape on your face is a gateway to fantastic visual gags filled with expressive reactions limited to eyes and brows alone – a few flaps of the arms have a role too, but the best comedy Tape Face offers up here is actually the distinctly ‘what fools these mortals be’ kind of silent banter.

The Tape Face Show hangs more heavily on the shoulders of audience members than its predecessor – participants are marched purposefully up to the stage or manipulated into tricks from their seats and there’s a general sense of thrill around who will be called upon next and whatever the hell for. It never fails to amaze and amuse to see Tape Face getting the average Joe to follow wordless instructions like a little lamb fresh from the fields…

With this definite increase in audience use, there are fewer gags starring Tape Face alone which is a bit of a shame – this show sees much more comedy lying in interactions and reactions than some of the more classic wins seen previously such as the brilliant manipulation of everyday objects. The set-ups for some gags also feel over-long – that doesn’t diminish the strength of the gags when we get there but some segues do feel lengthy.

Shenanigans inspired by music are another returning feature which continues to be thoroughly excellent. It’s one of the great joys of seeing this show to see our comic manipulating situations through the tempo and tone of the music choices which randomly begin to play. Incongruity of backing music and central action is utterly fantastic and as Tape Face reacts to feigned musical intrusions we’re pulled ever further into his surreal world of charming silliness with warped undertones.

Tape Face remains a great talent and this show had me laughing just as loudly as the first I saw. There’s less material here it seems, particularly as this time around there’s a support act (Jonny Awsum – a musical comic who wins the crowd over very swiftly) and the act strays from the creativity of conjuring new things from random things, but it’s a great night out regardless and I definitely recommend.

The Tape Face shows continues to tours the U.K. until 28th September 2019 and you can find tickets here.

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