Review: NINA CONTI, Arts Theater
Landing in the West End for 10 performances, Nina Conti brings her completely bonkers, truly thrilling and breathtaking hilarious new show to audiences. An uninterrupted feast of exuberant joy, it’s a wonderfully playful exploration of modern-day love. With audience interaction, participation, ventriloquism and improvisation, Conti shows throughout that she is a natural on stage.
Beginning with a gentle back and forth with the audience, Conti immediately puts us at ease. Joined on stage by her fluffy friend Monkey, an adorable stuffed creature with a twisted sense of humor, the two poke fun at each other, causing a lot of fun. You can easily watch Conti do this all night long, but she adds more layers to the show as the evening goes on.
Throughout, several members of the public are invited to take the stage. First, a couple who have been dating for a few months. Conti wants them to reenact their first day ahead of us. To help them, she gives them both half-masks; latex offerings that cover the lower part of their faces. Attached to the mask are black chords that allow Conti to take control. She can press a button and the mouth moves – but the sound does not come from the mouths of the volunteers, but from Conti herself. That’s when she really shines; you’re treated to a selection of accents, pitches and dialects – Conti proves she’s definitely no one-trick pony.
The night continues with more hilarity as an improvised song is sung and Monkey speed dates; meet several people in quick succession to find love. The last of these dates stay on stage for a 5-way scene. There’s a classy dude, a Scottish guy, a Cockney geezer, a sassy old lady, and Conti, who moves between each of them, clicking on their mask to deliver joke after joke, leaving the audience with stitches that they laugh so much.
All in all a great night and well worth a ticket.
Nina Conti on tour until August 28
Photo: Matt Crockett