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).

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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).

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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!

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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!

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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.

Meet the cast of This House  – Whips, Punch-ups and Hard Brexits

Will Brexit boost or break West End shows? Would This House characters have voted Trump or Clinton? Who secretly wants to date Chukka Umunna? Read our Q&A with the cast of the West End’s top political drama This House as the stars reveal all!

This House previously played two sell-out runs at the National Theatre, and received unprecedented critical praise. Set between the fateful years of 1974 and 1979 with fist fights in Parliament and Labour facing a vote of no confidence, This House strikes a chord today as we once again lurch from crisis to political crisis.

This House is directed by Jeremy Herrin (People, Places and Things) and written by James Graham (The Vote at the Donmar Warehouse and Channel 4’s Coalition). Graham’s play Privacy is set to open in New York, starring Daniel Radcliffe.

Giles Taylor (The Members Chorus)
Speaker 1, Sergeant 2, West Lothian and Ensemble

Giles Taylor
Giles Taylor – The Members Chorus

What was your first professional job?
Aladdin at the Thameside Theatre, Grays

This House deals with party politics in the 1970s. Do you think parliament is a very different place today?
I think it is filled with far more careerist politicians now, out for their own personal gain. In the 1970s MPs really believed their party’s policies and felt passionately about them.

If your character could vote in the US election, do you think they would have voted for Clinton or Trump?
Clinton

How do you think the Brexit vote will affect West End Theatres?
I hope it will mean that punters reach for theatre either for escapism or to reflect their own fears and insecurities in this uncertain age, and to reconnect with their humanity.

In a single sentence, why do you think audiences love This House?
I think they are surprised by how entertaining it is, when they expect a dry, political drama.

Can you name your own MP (without using google!)?
Catherine West

Politics is often described as show-business for ugly people. If you HAD to go on a date with a politician, who would you choose and where would you go?
Chuka Umunna – and we’d go to see This House, of course! 

David Hounslow (Joe Harper)

David Hounslow
David Hounslow – Joe Harper

What was your first professional job?
Soldier, served seven years in the Royal Corps of Signals

If you were standing for parliament, what would your manifesto promise be?
A huge social housing building program.

Would your character have voted for Clinton or Trump?
Clinton

How do you think the Brexit vote will affect West End Theatres?
In the medium term could see a slight dip in European numbers but will recover.

In a single sentence, why do you think audiences love This House?
The outstanding writing, fast paced, funny and moving.

Can you name your own MP (without using google!)?
Chuka Umunna

Politics is often described as show-business for ugly people. If you HAD to go on a date with a politician, who would you choose and where would you go?
Dennis Skinner and take him to Brasserie Zedel!

Malcolm Sinclair: Humphrey Atkins

Malcolm Sinclair (Humphrey Atkins)
Malcolm Sinclair – Humphrey Atkins

If you were standing for parliament, what would your manifesto promise be?
There IS such a thing as Society.

This House deals with party politics in the 1970s. Do you think parliament is a very different place today?
Somewhat different. Class divisions are less obvious.

Would your character have voted for Clinton or Trump?
Clinton, reluctantly

How do you think the Brexit vote will affect West End Theatres?
Badly.

In a single sentence, why do you think audiences love This House?
In the form of a brilliant comedy thriller, it tells a wonderful story, which surprises us with its relevance.

Can you name your own MP (without using google!)?
Jim MacPatrick?

Christopher Godwin: The Members Chorus
Batley, Woolwich West, Belfast North, Western Isles and Ensemble

Christopher Godwin
Christopher Godwin – The Members Chorus

If you were standing for parliament, what would your manifesto promise be?
To make sure funding for the Arts and Music in schools is kept up. The Arts keep a culture healthy.

This House deals with party politics in the 1970s. Do you think parliament is a very different place today?
I do think Parliament is different. MPs have become more career focused and less ideological and altruistic.

Would your character have voted for Clinton or Trump?
Definitely not Trump. It would have to be Clinton. Not an ideal choice but a damn sight better than the demagogue they’ve elected.

How do you think the Brexit vote will affect West End Theatres?
It could go either way. The weak pound may encourage visitors from abroad which would favour Musicals mostly, I suppose. It will make it more difficult for straight plays. If the funding for Theatre gets cut any more the long term effect will be a diminution of quality and it will be harder to get a proper fee. 

If you HAD to go on a date with a politician, who would you choose and where would you go?
I would choose Tracy Brabin who’s just been elected MP for Batley. She’s taken over from Jo Cox, so tragically murdered in June, and is now representing the Doc’s old constituency.

In a single sentence, why do you think audiences love This House?
The opportunity to peep behind the scenes of Parliament is irresistible, and thanks to James (the show’s writer), it’s all true!

Buy tickets now for This House at the Garrick Theatre – booking until February 25th 2017. Performances are at 7:30pm every day excluding Sundays, with matinees on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 2:30pm.

Running time 2 hours and 55 minutes, including one 20-minute interval.

Casting includes Phil Daniels (Les Miserables, EastEnders), Nathaniel Parker (Wolf Hall), Steffan Rhodri (The Mentalists, Harry Potter), Kevin Doyle (Downton Abbey) as Michael Cocks, Malcolm Sinclair as Humphrey Atkins, Sarah Woodward as Lady Batley, David Hounslow as Joe Harper, Ed Hughes as Fred Silvester and Lauren O’Neil (Silent Witness, Midsomer Murders) as Ann Taylor. Further cast members include Christopher Godwin, Peter Landi, Matthew Pidgeon, Tony Turner, Giles Taylor and Orlando Wells.

This House is recommended for ages 14 and up.

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The Painkiller Review – Five Star Farce Majeure

5star

The set-up is simple: Two adjoining hotel rooms are occupied by a professional hit-man and a suicidal husband. There’s also an adjoining door. It’s the kind of conceit which lends itself so perfectly to farce and director Sean Foley milks every last drop of humour from the situation. Read more

Kenneth Branagh in The Painkiller – Photos from the rehearsal room

Two men. Two lonely hotel rooms. An adjoining door…One of them is a killer… one of them wants to die… What could possibly go wrong?

Garrick Theatre, London, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson
Garrick Theatre, London, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson

The fourth production in his Plays at the Garrick season unites five-time Academy Award nomimee Sir Kenneth Branagh with Welsh wonderman Rob Brydon. Read more