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Nina Conti: In Your Face

From 14 critic and 7 member reviews
Members say: Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Hilarious, Delightful

About the show

The Barrow Street Theatre presents Nina Conti's solo show, in which she brings her edgy flair and original touch to the classic art form of ventriloquism. More…

Direct from her engagement at the Criterion Theatre in London's West End, the voice-throwing queen makes her New York debut. With handcrafted masks that transform audience members into "live puppets," along with her sidekick, the foul-mouthed Monkey, Conti creates a brand-new show nightly. This is ventriloquism for a new generation.

Theater Pizzazz

"During Nina Conti’s magical production, one becomes entranced by the measure of her phenomenal ventriloquism which is nonpareil…Conti in her New York premiere is flashy, edgy, explosive, daring, ahead of the ventriloquism curve, mind-blowing, singular, jarring, hysterical, shimmering, ironic, iconic and a spinning whirligig of fun. You will miss an exceptional evening (or two or three for each night is unique) if you let this production slip by without seeing it." Full Review

NY Theatre Guide

"Conti will make you literally laugh your face off with her combination of voice throwing, improvisation, and mask manipulation. You are not going to see anything like this for ages…It’s an early holiday season gift…Nina Conti arrives on stage with enough inner sunshine to light up the 50,000 lights on the 94-foot Norway Spruce at Rockefeller Center…There’s no script, only a skill set that leaves you in awe." Full Review

Front Row Center

"Unlike ventriloquists of yore who did ba-DUM-bum jokes, Nina’s an uncensored riffer. With the help of Monkey, she gets to be naughty and nice at the same time...It’s a dichotomy that works stunningly well and keeps both the audience and the performer in stitches. Laughter is infectious...I’ve seen other shows with 'improvised' bits before. But Nina Conti is something else entirely...Masterful and side-splitting." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"Not only is Conti a brilliantly skilled ventriloquist and voice thrower, but she is able to improv and riff in different languages and dialects, creating vivid and varied characters...Conti has brilliantly imagined scenarios for herself and her monkey who is controlled by her...This mostly improvised show is true mastery and different every night...Conti is lovely and gracious enough to share the stage, creating a personal atmosphere that leaves the audience feeling like they are old friends." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"Although it appears to be completely effortless, she works hard to turn the pejorative profession around and succeeds with flying colors...Never before has a nylon hand puppet been so simultaneously creepy and hilarious...Conti astonishes with her dexterity, both physically and vocally...Though derisive on the surface, she clearly enjoys laughing with her audience rather than at them and the result is a win/win situation...A quick but incredibly worthwhile night of entertainment." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production "It helps that she’s thrown out most of the baggage that accrued to this once-naff art form: the creepiness, the stiffness, the tragic co-dependency. Handy, too, that she’s filled the breach with sass and straight-talk, alongside tonal variety and a ruthless self-awareness. More than that, Conti restlessly pushes at what can be done with her vocal skill…Conti just picks up on her volunteers’ body language and, before you know it, personalities develop and scenarios unfold." Full Review

The London Evening Standard

for a previous production "'In Your Face’ is a frequently mind-blowing mix of script and improvisation….The real magic is when Conti invites audience members up and transforms them into human dummies with the aid of masks that she operates. It is an old trick, but one that Conti executes with finesse, expertly orchestrating the cartoonish chaos…If you want sheer escapist entertainment this fits the bill. You will see nothing like it onstage this year." Full Review

The Edinburgh Reporter

for a previous production "One of the funniest shows at the Fringe this year…In Conti, the Fringe has a talent and skill that is still as ‘in your face’ as it was 15 years ago when she made her debut…Also on the stage was a rail of plastic face masks that were used throughout the course of a belly-laughter fuelled sixty minutes as Conti enticed a host of audience members from the front row to join her on stage." Full Review

What's On Stage (UK)

for a previous production "A new must-see show...The genius in this act is that we all love to laugh at our peers doing silly stuff, most of the time they're not actually that funny, but with Conti in control they gain her quick wit and improvisational prowess, the mundanity of everyday life becomes instantly watchable. The act is equally as funny when Nina is on stage on her own, riffing with her right hand. She's a class act and one you'd be a fool to miss." Full Review


for a previous production "She asks a girl from the front row onstage and attaches a mask to her face. The mask is operated with a pump so that Conti can move the mouth in time with the voice that she has given the girl. The participation is playful, absolutely hilarious and never mean…'In Your Face’ is such a clever and inventive show. While the ventriloquism is what makes it really unique, Nina Conti also boasts excellent improvisation skills. Not to be missed!" Full Review


for a previous production "To improvise alone, spinning off a multi-character narrative from the merest tics requires both technical mastery and the leap of faith in your abilities not to think about any of that to impulsively work in the moment. That Conti achieves this so apparently effortlessly, generating uncomplicated laughs from a complicated set-up, is a triumph...There’s a peculiarly half-hearted ending...But when she’s masterminding mayhem, the show’s a joy." Full Review

A Younger Theatre

for a previous production "A hilarious mix of deadpan ventriloquism and side-splitting audience participation…Conti has the talent to pick up on the smallest gestures from the volunteer and run with them. She exaggerates their smallest idiosyncrasies to uproarious effect…Ventriloquism might be seen as dated and clichéd to such a technological age. However, the refreshing simplicity of ‘In Your Face’ is so hilarious and ingeniously put together, that it’s a delightful change seeing it on the main stages." Full Review


for a previous production "An ever so slightly stilted start gives way to an impressive performance… An extraordinary talent for improvisation makes for an astounding comic act…Sometimes working with over five audience members on stage at once, Conti is constantly sharp…The audience is delighted by her effortless ability to make the ordinary hilarious…Engaging, inventive, and ever so slightly creepy – ‘In Your Face’ is a breath of fresh air, and a success." Full Review

The Skinny (UK)

for a previous production "Monkey is such a complete, foul-mouthed little beast, a perfect foil for the demure Conti – you could happily watch him snipe, leer and bitch all day. Together they are cryingly funny…The peril of improv is that you’re at the mercy of your audience: they need to give you something to work with, and then your human marionettes need to work with you. For this reason, this evening has varying degrees of success." Full Review

Clever, Funny, Hilarious

See it if -you can suspend all your biases about ventriloquists -enjoy spontaneous action -you've seen her youtube and it looks like fun

Don't see it if - expect something normal or predictable

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Masterful

See it if You are needing a night of laughs and silliness. Appreciate amazing wit and skillful ventriloquism. Love improvisation.

Don't see it if You are not a fan of one person shows. Are afraid on monkey 🐵 puppets.

Impressive, Entertaining, Hilarious, Fast-paced

See it if you'd like a hilarious comedy show that also happens to involve a super-impressive skill, Nina's ventriloquism.

Don't see it if you're nervous about audience participation, or think that ventriloquism is just a gimmick.

Also This was my first Nina Conti show, and the first full ventriloquist co... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Funny, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if You want to catch a British ventriloquist at the top of her game-charming & funny. Uses audience as her own puppets thru masks placed them~

Don't see it if May be too cute, or are looking for a number of people onstage-it's a one woman show. She's also a great comedienne & v funny off the cuff~

Masterful, Funny, Fluffy, Uplifting, Unusual

See it if you like to laugh. NC is skillful, funny. Superior parts were scripted and Monkey "alone." Time moved swiftly, except for human puppets.

Don't see it if you're impatient w/improv. Some was brilliant, but not all. The sum of the evening is fluff. Still NC is a force of nature.

Also I wish NC swore less. I find excessive swearing for a laugh tiresome. ... Read more Read less

Clever, Hilarious, Must see

See it if you like a completely fresh take on stand up comedy & ventriloquism.

Don't see it if you have thin skin, a massive ego and no sense of humor.

Clever, Hilarious, Entertaining, Funny

See it if you like to laugh!! This was 70 minutes of non-stop fun!

Don't see it if don't like to laugh.

Cast & Creatives (4)