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Review: The Boy With Tape On His Face and Jason Cook - Stockton Arc. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jamie Stubbs   
11 09 2010
ImageAfter the impressive reviews and word of mouth recommendations relatively unknown act ‘The Boy With Tape On His Face' received during last month's Edinburgh festival I jumped at the opportunity to catch him performing at Teesside's most famous comedy club. Upon entering the Arts Centre's Point stage, Sam Willis was already on stage, but the show hadn't started; I wasn't late. He proceeded to sit in darkness while punters filtered in, unnervingly still using only his eyes for expression he set the tone for what would be a truly bizarre and brilliant evening of comedy.

At 8:15pm start time without word or prompting, he simply got up and left the stage, then entered surprise support act Jason Cook. I consider it unfortunate that I haven't seen any of Cook's work before, as he is clearly a master of storytelling and would be a top class compere. Cook kicked off the night with some general audience banter and Stockton bashing leading to a great personification of one passive aggressive punter. His best material is clearly in stories that stem from real life events such as the German man in the front row of one of his Edinburgh shows or the fat man on the plane. Cook's generally chatty and inclusive personality was a surprise and a treat. On a night where I was expecting not a single word to be uttered on stage, his motor mouth tales and interaction was an unexpected joy.

After the interval we were given the man we were all here to see. Sam Willis: The Boy With Tape On His Face, an act that has taken this year's Edinburgh festival by storm and now performing in Stockton fresh from his month long run. Willis is the ultimate in audience interaction, combining what is essentially mime, props and daft trickery with a modern twist and tinged with sarcasm and dry wit, he brings on audience member after audience member to be the punch line or assist with a prop.

The bloke next to me was the first to be called on stage, only to be sent back to his seat immediately after receiving a short burst of applause. This occurred a few times during the set and I was sure this was an indication to who he was going to use as his big finish, and I was not wrong. Without spoiling the mainly visual gags in the set we were given audience participation highlights such as a reconstruction of the film Ghost, a Jackson 5 tribute, a Tom Jones style strip show and a bin that played ‘I Like To Move It' every time the lid was opened which must have kept the sound man on his toes!

I wish I could disclose more about the gags and routines performed by Willis as The Boy With Tape On His Face, but as a completely visual comedian it completely spoils the joke. All I can tell you is if you get a chance to see him, don't hesitate... although be aware if he gets you on stage and sends you back to your seat a few times you're in for the big finish!

* * * * *
If you're looking to see some Ten Feet Tall comedy, more information can be found on their website.

http://www.comedymicrosite.co.uk/



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