NZICF 2013: The Boy With Tape On His Face – More Tape

The Boy With Tape On His Face Both a national treasure and household name in the UK comedy scene, The Boy With Tape On His Face needs no introduction.  After a successful Edinburgh Fringe season where he garnered a staggering eleven five star reviews and won the esteemed Fosters Panel Prize, followed by a twenty-two show run at London’s West End, The Boy is back home with an encore season of More Tape.

The Boy proves that you do not need words to put on a stomping good show.  More Tape is an hour of silent fun backed by a killer soundtrack and is a fabulous mix of magic, vaudeville, puppetry and loads of props!  We are taken in to the world of The Boy where oven mitts sing (my personal favorite!), a game of golf is only a hairdryer away and a measuring tape can provide endless fun possibilities.

Audience interaction is an integral part of the show – you are forewarned this at the very start and advised that you should just play along.  Many people get nervous at comedy gigs (especially if you are seated in the front) for fear of being picked on but this show is one of very few where you hope to be chosen as you want to be a part of the adventure.

Sam Wills, the talented man behind this endearing silent character is an absolute master at his craft.  The show is clever, innovative and well structured – every gag is imaginative and perfectly placed with great comedic value.  Sam sets each one up brilliantly and demonstrates effortlessly that actions speak louder than words, using animated gestures and that signature wide-eyed expression to tell his story.

More Tape is exceedingly fun, wonderfully whimsical and absolutely hysterical – a truly magical experience.  If you haven’t yet seen this extremely entertaining show, put simply you need to.  Your inner child will thank you for it.

The Whimsical Banana rates More Tape: 5/5 bananas!

The Boy With Tape On His Face is performing at Rangatira at Q until Saturday May 18th.  This is your last chance to catch this multi-award winning show so don’ t miss out and get in quick as the season will sell out!  Click here for tickets.

UPDATE: Due to popular demand, The Boy has added an extra show at 5pm on May 18th!

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NZICF 2013: Doctor Brown in Befrdfgth

Dr Brown in Befrdfgth

They say silence is golden and this could not ring truer with Doctor Brown’s befrdfgth – the name alone should spark enough curiosity to get a ticket!  This award-winning wordless show is one of the strangest most ridiculous theatrical acts I have ever seen.

The tension and anticipation that builds in the first ten minutes really foreshadows what is to come that is us, the audience, waiting with bated breath both in trepidation and excitement at what the cloaked wizard-esque Doctor Brown will do next.  The show starts off innocently enough – a sneaky bag-snatching and a playful game of tag with members of the audience.  We are lulled into a false sense of security that this is all the show is going to be about.

When the Doctor finally reveals himself we are thrown headfirst in to the rabbit hole, very much like Alice in Wonderland.  Through animated hand gestures and often comical facial expressions, Doctor Brown embodies a number of characters and we are transported to many odd places, each one getting weirder than the next.  It is not immediately clear what is happening, or what Doctor Brown is trying to tell us.  This is definitely a show that requires you to have an open mind and allow your imagination to run wild.

Doctor Brown challenges the boundaries of theatre and breaks the Fourth Wall as he runs around invading people’s personal space, clambering over audience members and even throwing personal items away (one was a reviewer’s notepad – glad it wasn’t mine!).  The whole theater becomes the stage and audience members become potential playthings or participants in the madness that unfolds.

It’s not easy holding an audience’s attention for a whole hour particularly without using words but Phil Burgers does this effortlessly and masterfully.  Stuart Bowden, the other performer on stage may only jump in intermittently and on cue but his natural aptitude with the humble ukulele provide the perfect soundtrack for this very bizarre anti-comedy.

Doctor Brown in befrdfgth is wonderfully weird, utterly unpredictable and absolutely hysterical!  A dark yet whimsical world of “absurdist mime” that every avid theatre goer must experience.

The Whimsical Banana rates Doctor Brown’s befrdfgth:  4/5 bananas!

Doctor Brown in befrdfgth is on for two more nights at the Herald Theatre – for tickets, click here.

One By One: A Love Story Without Words

One By OneThey say actions speak louder than words.  This is exercised to the fullest effect in One By One, a quirky and charming silent show directed by Pedro Ilgenfritz that takes place in a world where words do not yet exist.  Bonnie and Marty’s paths cross in a fortuitous encounter at a park and from that moment on their lives are changed forever.

Katie Burson and Cole Jenkins draw us in and take us along on this adventure of tragi-comic proportions where in the absence of words, exaggeration is key.  Expect lots of comical wide-eyed facial expressions, melodramatic jaunty marches up and down the stage and madcap shenanigans of the slapstick kind.  Burson and Jenkins do all of this effortlessly and with a childlike innocence that perfectly complements and serves the narrative brilliantly.

The other integral element of the show which I thought was executed extremely well was the use of live music to set the pace and tone of each scene.  Jews Brothers band musicians John Ellis and Nigel Gavin are a well-oiled machine – they fittingly employ an eclectic mix of score and sounds throughout this silent love story which I felt really added a great rhythmic pulse to the performance.  Sometimes they don’t get it quite right though and consequently they are directed by the two characters themselves which I thought was a nice touch.

Bonnie and Marty’s breaking of the Fourth Wall doesn’t stop there.  Just as they have invited us in to this playful and musical world of gestures and mime similarly they just as readily jump into ours.  Personal space may be invaded and if you’re lucky enough, you may even get to participate too.

The stage appears stark and bare with only three pieces of furniture and a set of vertical “ribbons” that cross each other to form a skeletal wall.  This inconspicuous minimalist set created by Rachel Walker and though modest is the perfect “blank canvas” for the action that unfolds.

Unfortunately One By One is only running for a very short season – there are only two more opportunities to catch this fun and whimsical homage to silent film and I strongly recommend that you do!  You will be thoroughly entertained and more importantly you will be convinced that a world could exist without spoken word.

For tickets and more information, click here.

The Whimsical Banana rates One By One: 4/5 bananas!

One By One is a production funded by LAB Theatre and is presented as part of the Auckland Fringe.

Auckland Fringe

This review is also featured on Keeping Up With NZ.

Comedy Fest 2012 Review: The Boy with Tape on his Face in More Tape

 

I first saw The Boy with Tape on his Face as part of a ten-act show at The Classic seven years ago and ever since then he has been a favorite of mine.  I even got picked by The Boy to help out on stage which was slightly terrifying at first but then turned out to be a really cool experience and something I will always look fondly back on!

I must mention that I only recently found out that that was actually his first stage show which meant I was his first ever volunteer – how special am I?!  But I digress…

These days The Boy is more than capable of holding his own and is perfectly happy having the stage all to himself along with his trusty satchel of tricks, box of props and of course, the all important tape.  I was privileged enough to be invited by The Boy to attend his opening night of the Auckland season and WOW, what an incredible show!  So much fun, so many laughs and an epic soundtrack to go with it all!

His new show, More Tape, is full of toys, props and is a mad and whimsical mix of vaudeville, mime and even puppetry.  What I especially enjoyed was the incorporation of the music to the set and how it provided an additional element of comedy to the performance.  Another integral part of the show is The Boy enlisting help from various handpicked members of the audience – you are even forewarned from the get go that participation is compulsory…unless you want to look like a cock!

Sam Wills, the man behind The Boy is truly a world class act with numerous awards under his belt (more likely in his satchel!).  He is also the first New Zealand comedian to be a part of the Royal Variety Performance in the UK.  He will soon be preparing to perform a month-long season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the biggest arts festival in the world.  Accolades and achievements aside, he also happens to be a very lovely person!

I think the thing that makes The Boy so special is that he has truly defied the conventions of stand up comedy.  He is a stand up comedian that doesn’t speak and yet his antics will have you laughing from start to finish.  His entire performance is well thought out with a good story arc of mostly standalone little tricks and bits but that all flow together seamlessly.  The show is perfectly paced and well-timed which is impressive considering a lot of it is improvised and dependent in part on the volunteer’s cooperation (or lack of).  He has outstanding showmanship and great comedic intuition that will have you enthralled and amazed.

I don’t want to give too much away as the magic of his show is in the anticipation of the unknown and watching it all slowly unravel.  All I will say is his show is brilliant, hysterical, incredibly entertaining and the best silent comedy you will ever see.  This is a show like no other and one you do not want to miss!

The Whimsical Banana rates More Tape: 6/5 Tape-tastic bananas (an extra banana for good measure!)

The Boy is performing at the beautiful Rangatira at Q all of this week with an extra show before his final one on Saturday night – tickets are selling fast so get your tickets NOW (HERE) or regret forever!

The Boy and I in 2005

The Boy and I seven years later 🙂

Sam, thanks so much for the hook up and it was so awesome meeting you after the show too – it’s crazy that it has been seven years!  See you again on closing night!

To find out more about The Boy, visit his website.