Skip to main content

Review of The Boy With Tape On His Face at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Sometimes the very simplest of things can be the very best and perhaps in these complicated days, there is nothing better than to experience something, minus a very small addition of modern culture and tech, what could have been done a hundred plus years ago. The Boy With Tape On His Face is the most variety act a variety act could be and coupled with the most ridiculous amount of audience interaction you could imagine, makes it perhaps one of the very best theatre experiences.


Over a two hour show The Boy of the title, hence known as Tape Face, utters not a single word, strip of black tape across his mouth and with dark eyeliner, he is quite a sight. It is truly a clever and well defined character in itself, kited out with satchel and stripy top, before he gets into his elaborate and hilarious set-pieces. Pacing the stage from long before the show begins and finally settling on staring out the audience via his wall mirror. Our location is his dressing room, the audience perhaps his dream creations, as Tape Face drifts into a deep sleep to the company of the shipping forecast.

What follows are a serious of truly silly, mostly preposterous, but outright hilarious skits, often featuring members of the audience. Many pieces are driven cleverly from music, others from such things as Rubik's Cubes and golf clubs. All moments leaded to glory as not one piece fell flat, as the audience participation worked at all times, because Tape Face clearly has the talent to make it work. This show also fails to conform to the "safe area" of audience participation as Tape Face on a couple of occasions whipped himself up to the dress circle, where I was seeking safety (I knew a little about the show beforehand). There but for the grace of  Royal & Derngate, I could so nearly have been blaming it on the boogie. I did feel sure he was pointing at the chap next to me, who like me appeared to have a dodgy leg.

In retrospect, I actually feel sad about that, as this, like my previous stint on stage (The Play Goes Wrong as I keep telling people), would have been an amazing show to be part of. No one is cruelly ridiculed, this is kind, friendly and family safe. I loved everything (and got to see that plate trick live for the very first time. Amazing!) and would have happily sat watching all night.

Tape Face deserves every success in the future with this truly brilliant show. I posted after that it was one of the best theatre experiences that I have had, This is no lie, it offers an endlessly funny evening of laughter, which cannot come more recommended if you get the chance to see him. I don't fancy the task of cleaning up the theatre after though.

«««««


Performance reviewed: Monday 7th November, 2016 at the Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton.

The Boy With Tape On His Face was performed at the Royal & Derngate on 
Monday 7th November, 2016 only. However his tour continues though the UK and into Europe and West End dates next year. For details see http://tapeface.tv/

For further details about the Royal & Derngate visit their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

Popular posts from this blog

Review of The Worst Witch at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Jill Murphy's The Worst Witch first appeared in print in 1974, bringing its tale of an academy for witches to the first of a few generations. It was a long time before a certain boy wizard made his first appearance in a school of his own, and doesn't Emma Reeves, adaptor for the stage, know it. There are many a jibe at the HP universe in this stage version, that even I, someone who has never read or watched any of them (yes, really), could pick up.

Mildred Hubble arrives by mistake at the wrong university, a "normal" or "pleb" far removed from the rest of the students at Miss Cackle's Academy. Here she meets friends and enemies, and a certain evil twin bent on world domination.

Reeves' adaptation starts off slightly shakily as we are presented with what at first threatens to be a cheap rip-off of the mega stage hit The Play That Goes Wrong as we are introduced to the premise that this is a play put on by the students, complete with copycat stage ma…

Review of The Pillowman at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

The Pillowman sounds such a friendly title, and to be fair, his story is one of the lighter aspects of Martin McDonagh's script. It still involves dead children though, if you want to get a clear vision of how dark this play is.

Set in a police state of the future, Katurian (Toby Pugh) is taken in for the content of his often violent stories and a similarity to a spate of recent child killings. Here in detention cell 13, his police captors, Tupolski (Adrian Wyman) and Ariel (Steve While) play good cop, bad cop while holding over the threat of violence against Katurian's mentally disabled brother Michal (Patrick Morgan), being held in another cell.

The Pillowman is clearly a very warped story, with the blackest of black comedy, and often also very offensive with it's racial stereotyping and disability. In fact, it is no surprise that a couple left in the interval, as I would happily admit that this play is far from everyone. I like a good black comedy though, and lifting an …

Review of Broadway Lights And West End Nights at Northampton College

I have followed the acting course at the University of Northampton for the last five years now, but this Saturday I experienced the Level 3 Musical Theatre group at Northampton College for the first time, as they presented a performance by their first and second-year students. The evidence from this first encounter suggests that there is some very good talent on its way through this course.

The evening presented a nicely varied selection of performances from six shows, Avenue Q, Rent, The Lion King, Cats, Mary Poppins and Sweet Charity, both providing some lovely singing routines and a few of pure dance, allowing the students to show many of their, very obvious, skills.

From the collection of 21 routines presented, there were a few standout moments, the best of which for myself was Mungojerrie & Rumpleteazer performed by Tom Kalek and Lily Cushway. This was a routine of such polish that I would happily have watched on any stage, never mind a student performance. Kaley and Cushway…