REVIEW: NINA CONTI: IN YOUR FACE (Pleasance Courtyard) ★★★★
British ventriloquist and Best Comedy nominee at the 2016 West End Wilma Awards, Nina Conti returns to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year in a slightly larger venue than last year, the Pleasance Courtyard. Thankfully, as Nina’s act has grown and she has moved up in venue sizes, she has realised now is the time to introduce a video screen into the act so that people towards the back of the auditorium can still see the close up action. Nina asked the audience for feedback on whether the screen was useful and it most certainly was, as without some of the magic would have been lost.
Starting off the act with her well known monkey puppet, the two get to know the audience, and get a feel for who is potentially worth getting up on stage later in the show to don one of her famous ventriloquist masks. Monkey gives us a rendition of his song ‘My Face Hurts When I Play Guitar’ and even does a Q&A with the audience on his own whilst Nina hides inside a sack (to make it more realistic). After a bit of hypnotism from Monkey he bids the audience farewell and Nina launches into the main part of the act with the audience.
As an improvised comedy show, Nina has to use her quick wit to not only think about what she can say next, but also what the person up on stage is going to say. At times Nina has several people up on stage speaking all of their different voices for them. It’s hilarious to watch and this part of the act will vary 100% every night and so no two performances are the same.
The thing I love most about Nina Conti, and I’ve said this in reviews before, is that she clearly loves what she is doing and at times has to pause for a moment because she is laughing so hard at her own jokes. I sometimes think I am the funniest person in the world (well at least I can make myself laugh) and she could clearly sit alone in a room for a week and still keep herself amused. Is there anything greater than being able to entertain yourself?
Nina Conti is a brilliant act who is going from strength to strength and I can’t wait to see her again when she returns to London’s West End for ten nights only after the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Nina Conti: In Your Face is playing at the Pleasance Courtyard until 29 August 2016 and then at London’s Criterion Theatre 7-17 September. Tickets