The Boy with Tape beats high expectations
The Boy with Tape on his Face: More Tape is back in Christchurch
for a return season. Here is Charlie Gates' review from when the
show first visited in 2012.
It's known as 'difficult second album syndrome'.
A band has great success with its debut, but the second album
can either launch them into the mainstream or kill the buzz.
The Boy with Tape on his Face was a massive hit for Canterbury
performer Sam Wills. It has packed theatres in Britain, enjoyed two
sellout runs at the Edinburgh Fringe and sold out at the World
Buskers Festival last year.
Its success has taken Wills to the Royal Albert Hall and a
British television audience of 11 million people.
So expectations were high for the sequel, More Tape.
But Wills' new show not only overcomes second album syndrome, it
smashes it to smithereens.
The sequel meets and exceeds those high expectations in style.
Wills has taken to a broader canvas without losing the charm and
simple beauty of the first show.
If you haven't seen the show, Wills is the titular boy with tape
on his face. He looks like the star of a Tim Burton movie in his
monochrome outfit and a strip of masking tape across his mouth
makes the show a wordless affair.
But he says so much with his eyes. Imagine Buster Keaton,
Charlie Chaplin or even Gromit from Wallace and Gromit.
He whirls from one inventive and infectiously joyful gag to the
next, mastering puppetry, audience participation and lo-fi magic
along the way.
The show is essentially what the name suggests, but it has
definitely evolved and developed. The delicate and enchanting world
of the first show has been transformed into a more boisterous,
upbeat and less whimsical experience.
It also flows better than the first show, with extended flights
of fancy and sustained gags. But Wills has not lost sight of the
simple charm of an oven glove in love.
A single strip of masking tape, endless invention and brilliant
instincts deliver surprising punchlines and breathe new life into
It all leads inexorably to a finale that is more like a
happening than a stage show.
Wills has built on the original show to create something larger,
broader and, most importantly, funnier.
There was a spontaneous standing ovation at the end of
Saturday's sold-out show. It was well deserved. Wills has built on
the buzz and broken into the mainstream.
© Fairfax NZ News