You can just imagine how many hours Sam Wills (The Boy With Tape On His Face) must spend in variety or emporium stores, looking at everyday objects and imagining a whole new life for them. The man who does gags while wearing a gag, has an uncanny ability to turn things like staple guns and hair dryers into tools of magical hilarity, and will routinely have your face aching with laughter during his one-hour show, in which more than a dozen audience members will also find themselves on stage.
The key to Wills' success is that he gets the crowd rooting as much for those dragged on stage as for him - they become instant stars in their own right. It almost feels like a sports match when you whoop and throw your arms in the air when a trick comes off.
And the prowess of his sound and lighting man, who can suggest so much with a blast of The William Tell Overture, or the Star Wars soundtrack, and the occasional spotlight, that you almost forget Wills hasn't spoken for the whole show, so seamlessly has he drawn you into his world of delightful mime.
The show begins and ends with excellent balloon fun (you'll never hear 99 Red Balloons in the same way again), but his indoor golf game, handcuffs of marriage, and oven-glove karaoke were all highlights, while his irreverent tape-measure act is a real classic. However, the most impressive audience participation comes when he gets four young men up on stage, and somehow folds them together like the four top overlapping flaps of a box. Future audiences should pray he doesn't come across an origami how-to on his next shopping trip.
Who: Sam Wills as The Boy With Tape On His Face
Where: Bruce Mason Centre
Playing: Q Theatre in Auckland from May 13 to 18. Also playing shows in Dunedin, Oamaru, Invercargill, Nelson, Tauranga, Hastings and New Plymouth.