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May 9, 2011 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Boy With Tape On His Face

For a solo show whose premise is encompassed within the very name, I was curious as to what exactly there would be to write about.

The Boy With Tape On His Face is quite literally an hour long intensive of a boy with a thick band of black tape sealing his lips shut; and to my delight, comedy has never been more potent. From the moment Sam Wills entered stage (tape on mouth, bag on side), titters of laughter sprinkled the chic bar at the San Francisco Bathhouse, and titters soon became chortles and the chortles became cheers.

What passed was a whimsical hour where the audience is taken through a series of eccentric scenarios featuring puppetry, mime, song, dance—underscored by the continuous bumblings of the piano accordion, Jackson 5, Lion King and much, much, more. I could barely laugh for gasping admiration as strips of duct tape blossomed into a rose, and an ice cream container delivered ‘What A Wonderful World’. The evening holds a sense of glorified street performance, witty and comedic, but the intimacy of the stage allows for moments of exceptional beauty (cue ‘Father and Son’ featuring a Cabbage Patch Kid doll, mouth taped and all).

Audience interaction is a key feature, as in most solo comedy, but rarely have I ever seen an audience so desirous to actively participate. Wills shares his stage just as much with the slew of participants as he has on stage himself, and despite the sometimes ridiculous nature of his commands (a woman re-
enacts a toy lion and consequently jumps through a hoop; three gentlemen become the dancing chorus to Wills’ crooning shoes), all are performed without question.

To say The Boy With Tape On His Face is brilliant simply isn’t enough. Sam Wills presents his audience with incredible comedic generosity, in many ways it becomes as much your show as his. Bravo.

The Boy With Tape On His Face
By Sam Wills
2–7 May at San Francisco Bathhouse


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