Friday, 1 August 2008

Nina Conti - Evolution *****

I first saw Nina Conti when she appeared with Monkey (that's her sidekick) on some new comedy talent show on BBC 3 when BBC 3 had only just started and nobody watched it (apart from me).

Needless to say she won the talent show and I encountered her again at Late and Live whe she was one of the four acts on display (at that time she hadn't really changed the act that much from what was on TV).

So having not seen her for 3/4 years I was looking forward to seeing some new material from by far the funniest ventriloquist I've seen to date.

Watching the show, I think Nina was very aware of the fact that she needed to get some new stuff out there and "Evolution" was a very ambitious attempt to do a full hour of material that hadn't been done before.

There were costume changes, a projector screen, and a duet between her and the monkey, as well as a bit of hypnosis and even an appearance form her famous Dad.

Some shows - particularly stand up acts, don't really need previews, because all they are doing standing and talking to a microphone. But when you have so much going on, the previews will highlight areas of the show that still need to be perfected and/or rewritten slightly and Nina certainly noticed quite a few, (and monkey wasn't shy about pointing them out to her).

But as I've mentioned in previous reviews, it's not how often you make mistakes, it's how you deal with them that makes or breaks the show and Nina Conti is the master of recovery.

She makes everything look effortless and has plenty of arse jokes to fall back on if things aren't going her way. The monkey can swing the audience with a moment of cuteness or a moment of utter filth. Either way she always has them eating out of her hand.

Most of her stuff did work and the stuff that didn't, you could see how it could be funny... and she didn't dwell on them log enough for the show to go off track.

She's reasonably priced at £9.50/£10.50, but I would wait a week or two before going to see her, because I think the show will "evolve" over the three weeks and get better.

She is clearly a top class comedian and a very safe bet for the fringe. (A good show to go to if you're going on a date as well).

Nina and Monk are at the Pleasance Two at 8.25pm daily


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