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Writing such diverse shows comes from, Wills says, a combination of improvisation and inspiration seeking.

“There is a shop near my house that has all these kinds of oddities and bits and pieces in it,” he reveals of his shopkeeper-baffling process that has on occasion involved returning several times within the same day to buy one toilet plunger after another (consider what William Tell could have done with this device and you’ll be near The Boy’s use). Indeed, a new sketch involves an equally everyday object. 

“I thought about what The Boy’s musical instrument would be,” he muses.

“The normal carnie default setting is to play the saw, but I’ve been playing around with getting different Sellotape dispensers and getting different sounds when you pull them. And I love the twang you get when you play the ruler on a desk.

I might do that and play the Deliverance song on it!” He could call it Duelling Dispens-os.

Despite these new routine ideas, this forthcoming winter run is drawn from his recent More Tape show – a breakout hit this year at the Edinburgh Fringe, where he picked up the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards’ Panel prize – as well as 20 minutes of his favourite stuff, “the hits” as he puts it.“

The first show I wrote as an introduction to the character, and it had everything in it I wanted, so people would know the style of the jokes,” he says of The Boy’s evolution.

“The second I wrote to be bigger. If you think of the first show as one-liners, the second is like long-form joke-telling.

”To give more away about some of the routines would be to spoil the show for the uninitiated, be we’ll tease you with the prospect of clay pottery, Westerns (“that’s becoming a big hit at the moment”) and a wonderful routine involving a doll that’s as sweet and charming as it is hilarious.

Also, a climactic finale in which “an audience member triggers a T-minus countdown”. 

The only real shame about The Boy not speaking is that, in person, Wills is a charming and energetic wee man, his conversation peppered with laughs and anecdotes and infectious enthusiasm, which probably explains why his show is as popular with the public as it is the critics.

“We get people who come more than once,” he reveals. 

“I had a guy in Melbourne who came nine times.

"What usually happens is that they’ll come back with a friend and sit there going ‘you have to see this bit!’.”

And with three weeks of performances to pick from, you can bet he’ll have a whole new group of repeat offenders come the new year. 

 

The Boy With Tape On His Face  
Duchess Theatre, WC2B 5LA. 

Dec 17-Jan 5. £22.50  
Tube | Covent Garden
duchesstheatre.com

Photos: Getty


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