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Nina Conti: Your Face or Mine? - Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2024 (VIC)

Presented by Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Performed by Nina Conti.


Reviewed by Justin Clarke

The Capitol - 113 Swanston St (opp Town Hall), Melbourne

Until 14th April, 2024


Mad-cap voice juggling meets ventriloquist innuendo that will have you howling with laughter, whether your mouth is moving or not


Critically-acclaimed and award-winning comedian ventriloquist Nina Conti returns to Melbourne as a crowd favourite that will have the audience in tears of laughter whether their mouths are moving or not. Made famous in the UK with her faster than lightning ability to improvise through ventriloquism, Conti brings Your Face or Mine? to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with a show that is never the same twice and may just be one of the most enjoyable evenings this festival season.


The premise of Conti’s work is simple enough, she uses her ventriloquism with her assistant, Monkey, to warm up the crowd before inviting audience members on stage, popping a comical face mask on them (she was ahead of the Covid trend) and using their body language to make them speak. What makes this premise work so well is Conti’s ability to change dialogue at a moment’s notice based on the victim - sorry, volunteer - in front of her.


There’s a beauty about ventriloquism that brings audiences together. We know that Conti is doing the voice of Monkey, yet we buy into the belief that Monkey is his own character, only with a hand up his (apparently now worn) ass. Conti herself makes fun that on her own, she cannot come up with anything funny to say as a stand up comedian, but as soon as she pops on a mask or brings Monkey out of her bag, she doesn’t know what depravity will come out of her mouth next.


You, like me, will have tears streaming out of your eyes at the pure creativity and mad-cap improvised ventriloquism you’re treated to on stage

Of all nights to see the show, the initial crowd warm up led to a mask being donned on a gastroenterologist, in layman's terms, somebody who sees a lot of assholes. Conti took this and ran with it full speed and never stopped, our Gastro Doctor on stage offering small shoulder shrugs and dances, as well as a popping finger as Conti provided the voice for the Doctor’s love for checking out people’s rectums.


But if you were impressed by Conti doing just one voice at a time, she impressed the crowd even more with two warring brothers, one of a patient transporter, the other an orderly. Conti crossed back and forth with ease between the two brothers as they flapped, flailed and gesticulated to match the words forcibly coming from their mouths.


Perhaps the weakest point of the show was Monkey offering Rapid Fire Therapy sessions, which just opened up to audience members the opportunity to be comedians themselves on stage. The endearing quality of Conti to match these attempts at comedy saved the piece that perhaps dragged on too long.


Nina Conti is an absolutely adored crowd favourite at the MICF and with only two shows left, she is one you have to see to get some massive laughs out of you. You, like me, will have tears streaming out of your eyes at the pure creativity, voice juggling showmanship and mad-cap improvised ventriloquism you’re treated to on stage. Bring on the fun!


Nina Conti: Your Face or Mine?

 

Adult:

Wed & Thu $38.00

Fri & Sat $41.00

Sun $38.00


Group (6+):

Wed & Thu $36.00

Sun $36.00


Concession:

Wed & Thu $35.00

Sun $35.00


Tightarse Tuesday:

$35.00


Preview:

All Tix $33.00


Sat 13 Apr: 5pm;

Sun 14 Apr: 4pm

The Capitol, 113 Swanston St (opp Town Hall), Melbourne

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