Barnie is renowned for his excellent physicality, which this performance only showed off a sliver of. That said, ‘Tap Head’ highlighted the control he has over small movements to bring out laughter and a range of other emotions from the audience. When in the role of ‘the tap’, Barnie was unable to show his facial expressions yet conveyed humour and pathos through this aforementioned physicality.
A nod should go to Daniel Nixon, credited with the Sound Design for the show. Barnie, alongside Director Katy Maudlin, used sound bites, music and the absence thereof to great effect. Timing is everything in these moments and Barnie (and his technician) executed the show with precision.
To be clear, ‘Tap Head’ is not a traditional stand-up comedy show. If you do not like mime, physical comedy or puns then maybe this show is not for you. However, if you like one or all of these things, then this show will appeal. It brought laughs, groans and ‘awws’ in a surprisingly meaningful piece celebrating anthropomorphism and empathy. ‘Tap Head’ also had room to get quite dark yet Barnie conveyed real emotions without treading into macabre territory.
Barnie Duncan is an eye-catching performer and had the audience in his palm for the duration of the show. While ‘Tap Head’ may not bring roaring laughs every minute of the show, it is constructed in a way that connects with an audience in an intimate space through relatable yet absurd content. Consequently, the laughs he did receive were often loud and honest.
Check out ‘Tap Head’ from 3 to 18 April at ACMI. For more information and to book tickets, click here.