Nina Conti (4 stars)

This article is from 2007

Nina Conti

A tender display of an ancient art

If your idea of ventriloquism involves slightly strange men jamming their hands up fluffy toys, then think again. Nina Conti is an eminently presentable young woman, with a simian sidekick more at home with muttering depressed asides (‘oh sweet Jesus!’), than waving enthusiastically to the nice children. In a wholly realistic voice, the monkey swears frequently, castigates Conti and revels in his own fictitiousness, never seeming other than fully alive and occasionally expressing his tendencies towards depression.

Conti laughs at his jokes, blushes at his crassness, and never once looks like she’s painfully chewing a pineapple. In fact, if the show were just a monkey routine it would be pretty darn good, but Conti is a virtuosic performer. At one point she conducted a three-way conversation between a west Midlands housewife who wants to be a mermaid, her boorish husband and the monkey. Then there was the penis and voodoo woman double-act, which, for sheer weirdness was hard to beat. Freud himself would have had a field day. This is an excellent show: professional, often hilarious and, occasionally, unexpectedly tender.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 27 Aug (not 15), 8.20pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8–£9).

Nina Conti

  • 4 stars

Nina Conti and Monkey come for a nice time in Edinburgh, bringing along some puppet friends and Conti's brilliantly strange imagination.

Nina Conti: The Dating Show

Improvised comic ventriloquism from Conti, who manages to weave humour and poignancy into her shows. Her puppet creations include Monk (a cynical monkey) and Granny (an elder Scotswoman).