The Boy With Tape On His Face … MORE TAPE

Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland

08/05/2012 - 08/05/2012

TSB Showplace, New Plymouth

09/05/2012 - 09/05/2012

Clarence Street Theatre, Hamilton

10/05/2012 - 10/05/2012

Municipal Theatre, Napier

11/05/2012 - 11/05/2012

Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland

14/05/2012 - 19/05/2012

Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Auckland

01/05/2013 - 01/05/2013

Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland

13/05/2013 - 18/05/2013

Opera House, Wellington

12/05/2012 - 12/05/2012

Opera House, Wellington

10/05/2013 - 10/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2012

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

He’s NZ’s new international success story, sold out in 2011, back with a brand new show at the 2012 NZ International Comedy Festival.  

The Boy has had a huge year since his sold out season here in the 2011 festival. He was the first NZ comedian to participate in a Royal Variety Performance in Dec 2011. He performed in The 1st Comedy Proms at the Royal Albert Hall backed by a 50 piece orchestra, followed by a sell-out Edinburgh Fringe season and a national tour of the UK. And he launched a brand new show … MORE TAPE which opens at the new festival venue Q – 305 Queen St on Mon 14 May following a short North Island tour.

Drawing on a heritage that includes silent film, mime, magic, and puppetry, The Boy With Tape On His Face is a pensive, curious soul, approaching every object and audience member as a potential friend – or plaything.

This exciting one-man show is attracting attention across the globe, The Boy With Tape on His Face has racked up awards for Best Show, Best Show Concept, People’s Choice, to name a few at the New Zealand, Melbourne and Adelaide festivals.

The Boy is a mad scientist of vaudevillian pranks, who reminds us that life is an adventure…

“The Boy With Tape on His Face is utterly spectacular!  Endlessly inventive, hysterically funny.  Sublime physical lunacy – fight for a ticket.” Tim Arthur, Time Out ✭✭✭✭✭

“A deliciously skilful hour, some of the set pieces are simply joyous, sometimes mesmerising”  The Times ✭✭✭✭

“It’s not often you can say you really didn’t want a show to end” The Scotsman  ✭✭✭✭


Tues 8 May  Bruce Mason Centre – Takapuna  8pm 
Wed 9 May  TSB Showplace – New Plymouth  8pm  
Thu 10 May  Clarence St Theatre – Hamilton  8pm  
Fri 11 May  Municipal Theatre – Napier  8pm

Dates:  Sat 12 May / 7pm
Venue:  The Opera House – Courtney Place
Tickets:  Adults $35, Conc. $32
Bookings:  0800Ticketek or

Dates:  Mon 14 to Sat 19 May / 7pm
Venue:  Rangatira @ Q – 305 Queen St, City
Tickets:  Adults $32, Conc. $28
Bookings:  Ph 3099771 or 


As part of the 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival

NORTH SHORE (Auckland)
Date: Weds 1 May 8 pm
Venue: Bruce Mason Centre, Cnr Hurstmere Rd & The Promenade
Bookings: 09 970 9700 
Tickets: $33.50 – $38.50 (booking fees may apply)

Thu 2 May : Oamaru – The Opera House 
Fri 3 May :
Dunedin – The Glenroy 
Sat 4 May :
Tues 7 May 
Weds 8 May :
Tauranga – Baycourt Theatre
Thu 9 May :
Hawkes Bay – Opera House 

Dates: Fri 10 May, 7pm 
Venue: The Opera House, 111- 113 Manners St
Tickets:  Adults $38.50, Conc. $33.50 (booking fees may apply)
Bookings: 0800Ticketek or 

Sat 11 May: New Plymouth – TSB Showplace. 

Date: Mon 13 to Sat 18 May, 7pm
Venue: Rangatira at  Q – 305 Queen St, City
Tickets: $33.50 – $38.50 (booking fees may apply)
Bookings: Ph 3099771 or

For the sweetest deals and hottest comedy news throughout the Festival head to  

Theatre , Comedy , Solo ,

Clever invention, community, comedy and play

Review by Lori Leigh 11th May 2013

Centre stage is a microphone on a stand. A few metres away, watching, the comedian sits with a piece of black gaffer tape over his mouth.  This is not your typical stand-up show, and anticipation is electric and infectious as people pour into the Opera House to see the silent one. After a “turn off your cellphone” request, the loudspeaker states that this show is interactive and “do play along or you’ll look like a cock.” 

This forms all of the ingredients for The Boy with Tape on His Face—More Tape: an hour of nonverbal, interactive, childlike play; pure enjoyment. Sam Wills is The Boy and his set switches between solo play and scenarios that depend on audience members to join him onstage.

Throughout the entire show, music is key element to relay information and tone. When Wills is alone his comedy usually depends on a form of found-object puppetry. One memorable bit includes two oven mitts singing the Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross rendition of ‘Endless Love’.  In another moment, John Lennon appears before our eyes out of Wills’s hands and a mop head. 

The real magic in the show, however, is the audience participation. There is sheer delight in watching the ways Wills can coax and manipulate his audience into doing whatever he chooses, without saying a single word.  Is it his charismatic eyes or Chaplinesque physicality that’s so persuasive? I can’t tell. But he is damn persuasive.

Each time an audience member joins him on stage they are ‘asked’ to participate in a ‘simple’ competition or task that is complicated by the elements (props) it involves. (Think Rube Goldberg’s vision of technology.) For example, one audience member swings a golf club to a ping pong ball tee-ed by a hair dryer to be caught in a dustpan by another audience member, all to Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’.

Dramatic suspense is created early on when an audience member pushes a clearly-labelled ‘Do Not Push’ button. The dangerous implications of this action linger throughout the show, concluding in one of the most singularly spectacular displays I have ever witnessed in the theatre.  No spoiler alert here, but I will say it involves a mass party, many red balloons and a popular 80s tune. 

My one minor qualm with Wills’s work is his choice of audience members conveys a strong gender bias. In an audience demographic that was very much a mix of genders, of the twelve people invited to join him on stage ten were men and only two women.  Why neglect so much of your audience? 

Regardless, The Boy with Tape on His Face—More Tape is highly recommended to anyone who wants a fun-filled night of clever invention, community, comedy and play.


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What could be better?

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 02nd May 2013

Like kids anticipating The Cat In The Hat’s return on a rainy day, we wonder: what will The Boy and his extraordinary mind come up with this time, from the objects around him, the audience with him, the music and imaginings inside him? Using dress ups and junk scattered round the stage, The Boy is back, with silent mischief, tricks and skits (some old, some new), underpinned by the genius that Sam Wills is now recognised for around the world.

Support act Simon McKinney opens with a 30 minute set. While he starts with blind jokes that feel obvious and fall a tad flat, as soon as he dials up the helium and puts on an accent, the crowd is on board and he is fully entertaining. His impersonations of Australians, German tourists, South Africans, and people with an array of English accents, showcases Simon at his best.

But we are here for The Boy With Tape On His Face in More Tape.

Sam Wills is the consummate ringmaster, and like loyal dogs we are eager to please and be pleased, obeying his every command and so easily led by the power of suggestion. The Boy is high status, and by using his finely tuned gestures and expression, is very much in charge. He doesn’t suffer fools lightly, yet looks after all his audience volunteers, ensuring they are the heroes by the time they return to their seats.

As with his previous show, the choice of music is perfect be it by Cher, Strauss, The Blues Brothers, Wagner, Stereogram, or underlay music synonymous with French mime artist Marcel Marceau. It’s ideally programmed and in perfect synch with the on stage action.

The opening skit, a masterminded twist on ‘pistols at dawn’, is my 14 yr old cousin’s favourite. Other acts are reprised from previous shows (‘oven mitts in love’, ‘mine’s bigger than yours’, ‘the marriage’), yet played out by different audience members, even though the stakes are the same, the journey, the jeopardy and the outcome, is varied. Each repeat is still a treat.

The best of the new material displays the whizz-kid wacky brilliance and standard that previous shows have set. No more so than when two audience volunteers, props constructed from junk on stage, plus a hair dryer, and a seemingly impossible task set by The Boy, creates the same kind of frenzied excitement of an Olympic final. When we complete The Boy’s bidding, it is SO exciting, that I may have even involuntarily punched the air with my fist and yelled out, “Yes!”… Along with the rest of the audience.

The vast majority of his skits are tight and well-constructed. The exceptions for me are the Rubik’s Cube and 20th Century Fox gags, as I wonder if the pay-off is worth the set-up, given the extraordinary standard of Sam’s work.

While the show is essentially a series of skits, there’s an ominous recurring build-up to an apocalyptic climax of…. go see for yourself. Let’s just say the end is inclusive and interactive, yet so much fun.

The set-up to the apocalypse, as well as the epilogue, reminds the audience what The Boy With Tape On His Face in More Tape is all about: throw yourself into a world of ‘can do’: stay curious; stay tuned to the child within; lose yourself in the music, mime, ideas and imagination. What could be better?

Just as good the second time round.


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Divine and dastardly games and gags

Review by Nik Smythe 10th May 2012

The seemingly makeshift assortment of cardboard boxes, a chair, a stool, shelf unit and bits and pieces (a microphone even!?), creates an anticipatory air of something playful and imagination-based.  As this is my first time witnessing the now legendary face-taped Boy, I’m intrigued and excited, looking forward to learning what all the fuss is about and generally expecting the unexpected.

Firstly though, Jamie Bowen warms up the audience with his fairly universal brand of inappropriate wit.* He claims it’s a homecoming performance of sorts, being a Shore boy born and bred, and proceeds to slag off any locals who didn’t go to the same high school as him, before launching into twenty odd minutes about Being a Comedian (they do say talk about what you know), investigating social prejudices and stereotypes re. redheads, Asian drivers, male libidos, bestial pornography etc.  Something for everyone to be both amused and offended by. 

After the break it’s The Boy’s turn.  As the near-full auditorium returns to their seats the title character, aka Sam Wills, sits pigeon-toed, sighing and fidgeting in his trademark black mop, stripy top, slim grey suit, purple sneakers and of course the iconic short strip of gaffer tape sealing up his gob. 

The lights go down and a friendly PA voice welcomes us, advising it’s an interactive show so if you’re called up “play along, or you will look like a cock!” 

Possibly the most classic of all musical introductory stings is that of 20th Century Fox, which our hero seeks to punctuate with a party blower… Problem #1: how can he blow the whistle with his mouth covered?  Solution: the first of many instances of delightful ingenuity designed to charm and amaze, as they invariably do.

The first guest brought on stage finds himself embroiled in a wild-west shootout involving balloons, staple-guns and the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  The next guy doesn’t do much, just pushes a button, but just wait… Others are subjected to duelling, dancing, golfing exploits (found-object sports?), horseracing, balloon tricks, etc, etc … as a general rule laughing with the rest of us, and accompanied by rousing and eclectic soundtracks. 

It’s interesting to note that only two of all the guests called on are women – one to play senorita to the Spanish matador, and one ballerina-cum-blushing bride.  I’m not sure if this is coincidence or policy; if the latter I’m curious to know the principle behind it.  Certain feats probably do work best with the male physicality, like the loudest cheer-inducing stunt comprising four strapping fellows and Bill Withers’ ‘Lean on Me’.

Interspersed with Tape Boy’s divine and dastardly games are a number of short solo gags with ‘improvised’ puppets, a swivel stool, more balloons, crockery and a Rubik’s cube.  All and sundry should witness the innately clever and definitively hilarious antics of New Zealand’s greatest non-lingual celebrity artist since What Now‘s Props Boy (in the 1990s). 

For a character who never speaks, he’s certainly got the punters raving! 

*Note, the Q season does not have a support act.


nik smythe May 10th, 2012

You're welcome + My apologies, I meant cab drivers; I was confusing them with the Asian desk lady at the drivers license office...

Jamie Bowen May 10th, 2012

Hey Nik! Thanks for the plug, buddy. Much appreciated. Although I don't recall doing anything on Asian Drivers but I think you might be on to something... Any thoughts on how to tackle this subject? I can see some real potential in it!

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