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Nina Conti: Strap into the mask as Nina gets in your face
Ventriloquists have all the fun. They get to say anything they like in public and blame the oven mitt on their hand. Nina Conti's Monkey is an irreverent uncouth furball with no inner monologue who isn't above putting his wrangler on the spot when the mood takes him. When Conti is questioning a front row audience member about her husband's job, Monkey interrupts by saying "Why are you asking her? Is she his ventriloquist?"
He gets his comeuppance during a brief but memorable musical performance titled 'Why Does My Face Hurt When I Play the Guitar?' Being a ventriloquist's hand puppet has some occupational hazards and guitar-playing is surely one of them.
The rest of the show is a case of audience participation at its scariest. Anyone brave (or foolish) enough to sit in the front two rows deserves what's coming to them. We've all seen the Nina Conti masks in the promotional material, designed to be strapped onto the face of a willing (or unwilling) victim who then surrenders their voice to the highly professional (and amused) puppetmeister. What ensues is both wildly entertaining and prodigiously head-messing.
Nina and Monkey
Victim Number One, a mildly terrified citizen by the name of Craig, is called up to the stage to mime his job. No amount of hand gestures could save him from his predestined 'career' as chosen by the controller of his mouth movements. Suffice to say he may have started the evening as a salesman but ended as a gymnast who could only do shit cartwheels and whose job was to stand on one leg and count the hairs on the carpet.
Nina Conti's In Your Face is a very funny show that will have you doing shit cartwheels in the aisles. Don't miss it.