City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Nina Conti - Evolution

By JD Stewart - Posted on 09 August 2008

From monkey to man: Nina Conti talks us through Evolution
Show details
Mick Perrin for Just for Laughs Live
Running time: 
Nina Conti & Monk

Within the confines of yet another random room in the Pleasance, semi-competent ventriloquist (her words, not mine) Nina Conti took to the stage with her monkey, Monk.

I have never really been a fan of ventriloquists, as there is just something rather creepy about the whole thing, but Nina Conti changed my whole perception. In a show that began with her trying to understand the evolution of monkey to man, we were then taken on a journey. The journey touched on Freud, had an appearance from her father (Tom Conti) and also how she used her monkey to repress her sexual side.

I know it sounds pretty heavy, but it is really anything but. This is due to the wonderfully constructed relationship between Conti and Monk. I realise they are the same person, but Conti has skillfully constructed an act that is nothing short of being real. Saying this, some of the segments where Monk was not present did seem to slow down the whole story. But Conti has such a charm to her, and as soon as she flashes that smile, even without a monkey on her hand she is bound to win you over.

As the journey came to a climax, we were witnesses to a spectacular finale, with Conti wearing a costume that you can't buy at your local party shop. It really has to be seen to be believed. It was also great to have an appearance from her father, but possibly not in the form you would expect.

Who knew that the topic of evolution could be that funny? Worth every penny to see Monk acting as Conti's tourette syndrome, his dry, bitchy, witty banter will have you laughing till you get home. Monk is also the cutest thing that I have seen on stage, but what a foul mouth he has.

Times: Aug 8-25 at 20:25 (no show Aug 11 and 18)