Review: Swingball on his head, dancing crowd members and a blindfolded shoot ’em up - it can only be the surreal world of Tape Face

The Tape Face Show Credit: Andrew Downie

The Tape Face Show Credit: Andrew Downie - Credit: Archant

Two women are on stage armed with plastic tennis racquets playing a rather ferocious game of swingball. Welcome to the surreal world of Tape Face.

The only twist is that the swingball is attached to the top of a helmet being worn by a rather terrified looking man with a strip of black tape across his face.

When such strange occurrences are happening on a stage it can only mean one thing - Tape Face is back in town.

And so he is, taking part in three near sold-out shows at Norwich Playhouse until Wednesday evening.

For the unaware, Tape Face is best described as a modern day clown who uses a mixture of slapstick, props, audience participation and perfectly positioned audio to partake in a serious of surreal set ups in front of an often amused, and occasionally bemused, crowd.


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The New Zealander's act recently hit the big time after he very nearly won America's Got Talent.

Having seen and very much enjoyed him twice before, both at Latitude Festival and this very same venue, I was intrigued to see how he would develop his act.

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And while some of the surprise elements of his earlier days may have gone, it's still a wonderful 70-minutes of truly unique comedy, performed so brilliantly by the Face.

It doesn't always hit the spot, for instance an overly long set up involving a chair and a whoopie cushion seems more obvious and puerile than the rest of his cleverly constructed comedy.

But more often than not it works superbly and my particular highlights include the aforementioned game of swingball, a game of catch involving a baseball glove, blindfold and ball shooting gun and some poor bloke being repeatedly made to perform dance moves in front of the rest of the crowd. Top marks that man.

I'll be honest, much of what Tape Face does is hard to describe in words, so it's probably best to just get along and take a look for yourself.

* A word of praise for support act Jonny Awsum whose 30 minute set of interactive songs got the audience on their feet and playing along within seconds. This guy is cheek and charm personified and tunes about family, musicals and a need for people to buy tickets for his forthcoming solo show at this same venue, went down really well.

Log onto norwichplayhouse.co.uk to see if tickets are still available.

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