Nina Conti is a rare bread on the comedy circuit these days - a ventriloquist. Her new Dolly Mixtures show combines multiple characters (many of which being introduced for the first time), along with unscripted audience interaction.
The Monkey is a long-standing companion who is very aware of his puppet status. As is Nina's musical daughter, who is also burdened by the adult concerns of her puppet master. The stray pit-bull terrier got in with a bad crowd after a messy divorce. Stefan is one of Nina's better characters - a life-size Polish man with a body occupied by a member of the audience. Granny is blessed with the (actually rather impressive) power of clairvoyance. Next, Nina employed her trademark ventriloquism masks to put words into the mouths of fans. Finally, John was introduced as a ninety-year-old man who wishes to pop his clogs in dramatic style.
Nina is never offensive, but instead channels all cheekiness through her mischievous double-acts. She is also very likeable and genuinely has great fun on stage, getting caught up in unexpected moments of comedy.
Nina Conti Live: Dolly Mixtures is a mixed bag of comedic hits and misses, with the strongest material coming from audience involvement and self-aware puppets. At just over an hour long, there's plenty of fun to be had, especially considering the rarity of her art-form these days.
Watch the trailer for Nina Conti Live: Dolly Mixtures:
Nina Conti Live: Dolly Mixtures is out on DVD, 24th November and Digital Download, 3rd November, courtesy of Universal Pictures (UK). Nina Conti can be found tweeting @ninaconti and Monkey can be found tweeting at @monkeyconti