|Comedian Ventriloquist Nina Conti has recently embarked on her first fully improvised tour, entitled In Your Face. No script what so ever. For any performer this is brave and no doubt requires a lot of courage.
It also means that each show in the tour is a totally unique experience. Simon and I went to see her at The Lowry, Salford Quays. Nina did exceptionally well and had the audience laughing aloud often.
Manchester audiences are notoriously difficult on an audience participation front, generally having the attitude that they’ve paid for the ticket now want to be passively entertained. Audience participation is an essential component of all of Nina’s performances and she demonstrated her skill at engaging audiences by engaging and involving the audience from the off.
Nina’s longstanding puppet Monkey was the only puppet to come on to the stage with Nina. Monkey says what he thinks, which makes him and Nina hilarious. At one point, he even put Nina in a bag on stage, so that he could talk to the audience alone.
I missed Nina’s Daughter and Inner Child, mainly because of the ‘My Face Hurts When I Play Guitar’ song. But I wasn’t to be disappointed as Monkey did a rendition. Simon missed Gran, I think it was just because of her perky attitude. These puppets, along with others that Nina has used in the past were replaced with more face mask/moving mouth puppets for audience members.
|What I loved about the show, was that even Nina herself didn’t know what direction the show would go in at times. It was an evening of fun, good humour and childlike play. I loved the childlike play and I think it something we all need more of in our lives. So Thank you, Nina for allowing us an evening of playfulness.
Simon and I were both inspired by the first half of the show, that during the interval Simon created a puppet using my jumper. This resulted in even more laughs.
Nina missed an opportunity, by having no merchandise being available to buy before, during or after the show. I would have liked to have bought a mug.
Unfortunately Nina’s tour is limited and in most places she is only doing one date. But if you’ve missed her this time round, make sure you catch her next time round. You can find information around Nina’s live dates here.