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Tape Face is a quality comedy act. The show feels immersive as many members of the audience have their chance to take part. The show builds up to quite a unique finale that had the whole audience on their feet at the end.
Whilst many comedy acts involve a simple “stand at the microphone and talk” format, it is clear upon arrival that this was going to be different. The stage is filled with a set that would not be out of place in a drama show. The design is that of the backstage of a theatre. Sat in the corner at the mirror is Tape Face with his back to the audience.
Photo: David Young
As the hall lights go down the speaker on the wall of the set announces that the “Tape Face Theatre Company show will begin in 1 hour 50 minutes.” He moves to the armchair, switches on the radio and listens to the shipping forecast and apparently falls asleep… and then the fun begins.
Over the length of the show, without saying a word, he gets the co-operation of the volunteers to do ballet, staple gun fights and enact scenes from movies. Delivering the instructions is as much a part of the entertainment and it is amazing to see how much control can be had through his non-verbal communication. Occasionally between the audience participation events Tape Face interacts with the set and that radio set.
The unusual nature of the comedy show also extends to both the lighting and sound design which frequently has a positive impact on the show.
The show is really funny, helped by the willing members of the Tyne Theatre audience, who appreciate that they are very much a part of the show.Our favourite scenes include a Western – featuring a staple gun battle, an intimate dance to Lady In Red and spinning plates through a dreamlike sequence. As already mentioned, everything built up to a clever climax which involved the entire audience.
This is a show which had lots of physical comedy. It understood how to entertain and how to use the principles of classic “silent” comedy. The Tyne Theatre audience lapped up the two hour performance.It was a thoroughly compelling evening.
This review was written by Stephen Oliver the North East Theatre Guide – follow Stephen at @panic_c_button.