Happyness Festival: The Boy With Tape On His Face
Eden Court, Inverness
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THERE’S no danger of giving away the punchline in a review of The Boy With Tape On His Face – a show with no words, at least from its star.
The Happyness Festival’s second night saw a busy OneTouch theatre with an all-ages crowd who had defied the summer sunshine outside. But the laughometer needle inside was touching gale-force, so delighted were the punters by The Boy’s drama, the miming, the way you realised in seconds that mere gestures, raised eyebrows and an ironic soundtrack could deliver just as many punchlines as a mouthy stand up.
With a crowd eager to co-operate when The Boy confidently climbed the auditorium stairs to summon his next onstage assistant, the "victims" seemed to almost enjoy the humiliation that awaited.
One guy found his nipple areas being covered with tape, a long strip of tape set to go over his crotch till the The Boy took a critical look there – and carefully re-tore the strip to half the width. But of course he was never going to be that predictable. The strip made a tummy-level nose while a folded piece of paper created a speaking mouth, singing along to the soundtrack.
All the toys and props added to the fun – tapes and scarves created Louis Armstong, shiny shoes and some audience assistants gave us Michael Jackson and the moves of Blame It On The Boogie, a Phil Collins record had the star’s mouth covered in the same black tape as The Boy’s and a flip-top bin opened under a spotlight to Reel 2 Real with The Mad Stuntman’s infectious track, I Like To Move It.
By even trying to explain these lightning-fast visual jokes, you sap the life out of them.
Yet there was one moment when the unexpected popped into The Boy’s slick routine.
A running gag throughout the show had seen The Boy’s first stooge summoned back onstage again and again only to be sent just as quickly straight back to his front row seat.
Finally he was asked up to read out The Boy’s written message to tell us we’d reached the end of the show.
But as he fluffed his line and The Boy pretended to get mad, our man onstage finally bit back and told us: "It’s his handwriting..."
Lost for words? Your face, Mr Tape...