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/

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of This Evil Thing at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

This Evil Thing written and performed by Michael Mears isn't my first encounter with a play about conscientious objectors, however, it absolutely is the most detailed in its explanation of the subject. A clear and absolute labour of love from Michael Mears, and an obviously very personal thing for him, it leaves the audience pretty much in its grip for the whole of its 80 minutes.

Almost uniquely, our performer Michael Mears is in the theatre stalls upon entry, observing the arrival of the audience and indeed exchanging conversation at times. It's fascinating to see a performer not only there, but seemingly so relaxed pre-show and as he bounds on the stage at show start, this little nugget proves intriguing in itself.

Michael Mears is a captivating presence on stage, as previously experienced on the same stage in A Tale Of Two Cities and The Herbal Bed, therefore it comes as little surprise that he has a confident ability to make a one-man show work, and so well. With the use …

Review of Balm in Gilead, University of Northampton BA Acting (Creative Acting) at Maidwell Hall, Northampton

Watching the production of Balm in Gilead sees my entering the fifth year of following the University of Northampton acting students, and what theatre they have provided over the years!

Balm in Gilead is no less intriguing than anything that has gone before, written in 1965 by Lanford Wilson, you might think this would be a dated item for the young students to be performing, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Set in a cafe (transposed to England from its original American setting), it sees the lives of addicts, homeless and sex workers converge into a mixture of good but mostly bad moments.
My first time in the Maidwell Hall saw an encounter with a brilliantly realised community full of the world of the cafe and the surrounding homes, cardboard boxes and dishevelled beds. As we enter the characters of this world begin living alongside us, addressing us, begging us for money, pushing shopping trolleys around offering off the cuff exchanges with the audience and confronti…

Review of Bombshell by Contact Light Theatre at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

Warning: This review contains spoilers

Whether it is an overwhelming success or mostly a failure, I have over the years grown a huge affinity for fresh new work on the stage. The need to regurgitate and rework old pieces continuously may well get easy bums on seats, but at the end of the night, it has no doubt pleased a few but it hasn't really made any future impact on theatre of the future. Presenting a new play and new work, however, who knows what it might have seeded in the years to come?

Therefore as I watched Bombshell, not only a new play, but also the first offering from a new theatre company, I was thrilled that first of all, it leaned much more towards the success line, and also that over half filling the theatre, it had also put quite a few of the bums on seats as well.

Curiously I have recently read Festen by David Eldridge, and while Bombshell goes much its own way, I felt early on, I (and perhaps others in the audience), felt I had a distinct advantage over some of …