Tape Face (4 stars)

Tape Face

Kiwi comic bids an entertaining farewell to some favourite routines

The power that Tape Face wields is almost tangible. How many other comedians could claim to have such a grip on their audience? As he strides through the throng plucking people out to take part in his exquisitely crafted onstage antics, there's never a chance that one of them will turn down his forced invitation: his tactic of simply walking away after pointing out his choice seems to leave his guest powerless to refuse. Once up there, everyone takes a gentle ribbing with grace (he does a lot of sarcastic watch-tapping), as though a silent rebuke is easier to swallow than a verbal one.

This compilation show, featuring routines he insists will no longer be performed once this month is out, is set backstage in a decrepit dressing-room an hour before his next gig begins. Listening to the Shipping Forecast, Tape Face nods off only to find a packed Pleasance Grand in his dream. While mere mortals might find themselves totally naked or wholly unprepared in such a scenario, the Kiwi mime artist is in full control as he lures up individuals or couples or trios to take part in a Michael Jackson tribute, a surreal game of golf, and a recreation of Swan Lake.

A gloriously playful finale sends us off into the night with a smile while we imagine the Tape Face left behind, on stage, presumably taking on a new audience with guile, wit and his undeniable power of persuasion.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug (not 15), 9.40pm, £13–£17 (£12–£15.50).

The Boy with Tape on his Face is TAPE FACE

  • 4 stars

It's comedy but without the chat. A chance to see the phenomenon of BWTOHF, in a show which is kinda cabaret, kinda theatre and kinda beautiful. Stand-up to make you spit out your drink then break your heart.

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