Nina Conti – Original Review | Review by Steve Bennett

Nina Conti – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2004

Review by Steve Bennett

With her foul-mouthed simian sidekick, Conti's skilful act increasingly deconstructs ventriloquism, which she dismisses, tongue-in-cheek, as a dying art.

Not only does the monkey start questioning where Conti's hand is – almost de rigueur for any vent act these days – but he demands a microphone, curses his unblinking marble eyes and even does observational stand-up from his unique perspective.

But if ventriloquism really is a dying art, there can no one better suited to give it the kiss of life than Conti. She's highly-polished, exuberant and playful, with an act that's fluid, technically faultless and utterly engaging. No matter how many times she's run through the same conversations with herself, it always seems fresh and spontaneous

Some gags fall on stony ground - and to her credit, Conti is constantly trying to evolve what could easily become a static act - but this a variety turn, not dependent upon jokes alone.

The set becomes more inward-looking as it progresses, ending with what approaches a piece of theatre as the monkey is reduced to nothing more than a disembodied voice inside her head. Fascinating stuff, if not side-splitting.

There's no doubt Conti will be a star - she's got the looks and the talent – but it would top off an already impressive act if her script were to match the performance skills.

Review date: 1 Oct 2004
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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