Who is Tape Face? Here’s everything you need to know about Sam Wills.

Sam Wills, known as Tape Face (formerly The Boy With Tape on His Face), brings his uniquely hilarious comedy to the Garrick Theatre this June for a strictly limited run of 7 weeks.

So who is he?

He’s 38 years old, originally from Canterbury, New Zealand and calls himself a ‘prop comic’ to avoid the word ‘mime’ that connotes walking against the wind and striped tops (which he ironically wears in the picture below).

rsz_tape-face-show-292-edit

Where did it begin?

When he was 12, he discovered a clown in his neighbourhood, knocked on his door and asked to be his apprentice – and that’s where the story begins!
His next stop was a circus school in his hometown of Christchurch, where he majored in juggling and acrobatics and graduated with a diploma in New Circus. After graduating, he began his career in “stand-up”, where he would walk on glass, hammer nails up his nose and eat marshmallows off of mousetraps (which is probably not the conventional Friday night entertainment you’d expect from your local comedy club).

tape face resized 2

Why is he silent?

After winning a big New Zealand comedy award for a show called Dance Monkey Dance, people expected him to continue dancing like a monkey. After growing tired of this, he decided to shock his audience by creating a show that was the exact opposite – no dancing, no funny tricks, and absolutely no talking.
He unfortunately ruined it on his very first performance of his silent character by walking on stage and greeting his audience with ‘good evening, guys’; this is where tape was introduced and Tape Face was born!

rsz_tape-face-show-46-edit-edit

What has he done already?

Arguably the most interesting performance to date for Tape Face was his performance on the red carpet for the world premiere of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in Wellington. He performed on the Royal Variety Performance in 2011, was nominated for the Fred Award in the New Zealand International Comedy Festival in 2012 and performed for several years at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where he met his future wife English burlesque performer Felicity Redman (also known as Lili La Scala); they are now proud parents of a baby boy whose middle name is Danger! Most notably, he made it to the final of America’s Got Talent in 2016 and began building a name for himself in the US.

Tape Face’s audition for America’s Got Talent 2016 was viewed over 45 million times on YouTube – that’s more than the population of Canada! You can re-live his time on AGT in the video below.

Why is he different?

Wills told Ed Potton (The Times) that his primary job as Tape Face is to encourage his audience to remember what it was like to be a kid, playing without fear or embarrassment. He claims that a lot of comedy shows recently push some kind of message or narrative, but he feels that comedy should just be about being fun and being funny.

One of the most captivating parts of Tape Face’s show is the relationship he develops with audience members; the time he convinced Mel B to wear a toilet seat around her neck on national television is a prime example of this!

tape face mel b

Tape Face is now West End-bound with his greatest gags, delivering guaranteed entertainment to UK audiences, whom he claims make him step up his game: “the UK has such a great tradition of comedy that you can’t slip something past an audience, because they’ll see through it pretty quickly” (The Times).

There’s nothing quite like Tape Face; his multi-award-winning spectacle really does need to be seen to be believed. With around-the-world critical-acclaim, you’d be a fool to miss the chance to be a part of the phenomenon this year.

Opening at the Garrick Theatre on Tuesday 6 June – book tickets here.

View the official trailer below.

On Stage Disasters: When Peter Pan Goes REALLY Wrong!

On-stage calamities, trips into space and a French bulldog hidden in a handbag – no two days are the same for the cast of Peter Pan Goes Wrong. We asked the stars of the hit West End comedy, Harry Kershaw, Bailey Patrick and Bryony Corrigan to share their real-life disasters and tell us what makes them laugh their tights off:

Hi Harry, Bailey and Bryony! Peter Pan never grew up…can you think of one thing that you never grew out of?

Harry: As a child I bumped into things by mistake quite a lot. Sadly I haven’t grown out of that!
Bailey: Being excited about everything and anything. I still struggle to sleep on Christmas Eve or the day before I go on holiday and get pretty excitable around a swimming pool.
Bryony: Biting my nails. Unfortunately, Horrid habit.

There are some things you just never grow out of...
Are there some things you just never grow out of? Arrrr matey!

What’s the worst thing that’s gone wrong in Peter Pan Goes Wrong that shouldn’t…and did anybody notice?

Harry: There were two days of carnage during previews here at the Apollo. On the first day Bailey (who plays Trevor) and I collided with each other and my hook (which is heavy and metal) smashed into his face. He had a massive bruise on his face for some time but was back on stage the next day because he’s an absolute tank.
Bailey: I was hit in the eye with Captain Hook’s hook but covered it up with a bandage that I was wearing during the last 5 mins of the show and managed to make it through to the end using one eye whilst negotiating a spinning stage, catching Wendy, putting out a fire and unclipping Peter Pan. Members of the cast didn’t even notice until I disappeared rather sharpish just before the curtain call to A&E…
Bryony: It looked like an old school horror the way the blood had splattered. I think the audience thought it was just fake red blood…fortunately Bailey is fine now!!!!  

Watch that man - he's got a mean right hook!
Watch that man – he’s got a mean right hook!

If you could fly like Tinkerbell, where would you most like to go?

Harry: I’d watch the northern lights.
Bailey: I’d spend most of my time overlooking my beautiful city – London.
Bryony: I’d fly up to the solar system to look at the planets and stars!

If you could fly anywhere, where would you go?
If you could fly anywhere, where would you go?

What’s your favourite scene in the show?

Harry: I particularly like the parts of the show which are different every night. The audience really are an extra character in this show and that’s very fun to play with. Any of the scenes which are painful for Chris are great… So most of the show!
Bailey: It’s very difficult to answer that without spoiling the surprises and because I have so many favourite scenes in the show. However, I find it very hard to keep a straight face when Captain Hook and the pirates are all on stage together – especially the conversation between Hook, Cecco and Percy.
Bryony: Harry as Captain Hook has a scene on his own where he often ends up interacting with the audience. It’s hilarious and great for us to listen to as the cast as it is one of the parts that is truly different every night.

Bailey Patrick, Harry Kershaw and Bryony Corrigan
Bailey Patrick, Harry Kershaw and Bryony Corrigan

If you went to Neverland, what’s the one thing you’d take from home that you just couldn’t live without?

Harry: Contact lenses.
Bailey: My girlfriend and my French bulldog Alfie hidden in her bag. They both come everywhere with me and always have me in fits of laughter and make me smile every day.
Bryony: I have a sheet like a small blanket that I’ve had since I was little for bed. Probably that. Yeah, I should probably do some growing up too.

Who's afraid of the big bad...er...terrifying...crocodile?
Who’s afraid of the big bad…er…terrifying…crocodile?

Captain Hook was afraid of a crocodile. What are your phobias?

Harry: 
I get very nervous of standing too close to the yellow line at tube stations. If somebody is standing too close to the track I hate it.
Bailey: I don’t really have any, although I’m not particularly keen on snakes.
Bryony: Spiders – isn’t everyone?

Apart from Peter Pan (obviously!) what was your favourite story or book as a child?

Harry:
My grandfather used to read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ on Christmas Eve every year to all the family. I would hold a candle. It was excellent.
Bailey: Peter Pan was and still is my favourite. If I had to pick another I’d have to say Robin Hood.
Bryony: Green Eggs and Ham. Dr Seuss!!!! (“I do not like it Sam I Am”)

If I wear black, they'll never see me!
If I wear black, they’ll never see me!

Who should someone bring with them to see the show?

Harry:
I think it would make a brilliant date. If you enjoy watching people fall over you’ll have a great night. It’s a great alternative Christmas show.
Bailey: It’s been so skillfully written that the adults laugh and cry just as much as the children and are often even more enthusiastic to get involved with the mayhem. We’ve all been in situations where things go from bad to worse: It’s watching how the characters deal with these constant mishaps and push through their pains to ensure they finish the show that produces such face ache for the audience who always have such huge smiles on their faces as they leave.
Bryony: My grandparents come and love it, my 6-year-old cousins come and love it…anyone who has done amateur theatre or watched an amateur production or even a professional production where something has gone wrong. It’s a silly Christmas Bonanza completely driven by the heart!

“JOYFUL DISASTERS FROM COMEDY MASTERS. GORGEOUS!” Libby Purves, BBC Radio 4

“RIDICULOUSLY FUNNY” Peter Kay

You can book tickets here for Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Apollo Theatre
Until 29 January 2017

footer-logo

Looking for perfect shows for any age? Check out our handy hints for taking kids to the theatre this Christmas!