The Boy With The Tape On His Face
What is it about those Antipodean comics? They’re either bawling their heads off with occasionally potent rage and fury (Jim Jeffries, Brendon Burns, Mark Little, Julia Morris, Steve Hughes) or they’re as laidback as you can get (the gently strumming Flight of the Conchords guys, Adam Hills and, um, actually that’s probably it on the laidback front). But maybe there’s a third way where an alternative to shouting insanely or whispering amiably exists. You could even say nothing at all if you wish.
In the 2007 Fringe debut of Claire Hooper, Oh featured the Aussie comic actress delivering a near-silent show about the ways in which we talk without actually uttering any words, an hour set inspired by the real-life threat of permanently losing her voice. And now up pops The Boy With the Tape on His Face, a stage name which is unrivalled for its wonderfully accurate descriptive powers.
New Zealander Sam Wills has been doing his mute thing for almost a decade now. Having been awarded the Best New Face (albeit one semi-covered) at Auckland’s Pulp Comedy Festival in 2001, his success has arrived in merging the panto poignancy of Buster Keaton with the wide-eyed naivety of Mr Bean (and a little bit of Patrick Swayze chucked in for good measure). Be warned though, it’s hard for him to keep his lonely, expressive schtick up for too long so audience members may be asked upon to assist with his gentle yet innovative routines. Heckling is futile. Though just be grateful that he’s now set aside some of the more extreme stage acts of hammering nails up his nose or squeezing himself through a tennis racket. I’d love to see Brendon Burns try that one.
The Stand, Edinburgh, Thu 8–Sun 11 Apr