For several years now Nina Conti has been making it her one-woman mission to make ventriloquism cool again. Or at least cool for the first time dependent on your point of view. Studying the art under her friend and mentor, the late actor Ken Campbell, her most well-known imaginary friend is Monk, the cheeky simian who says all those things Conti wouldn’t dare. He was used to great effect in a recent telly outing when he appeared alongside her character Bea Chadwick in Christopher Guest’s mockumentary Family Tree. But Monk’s not the only puppet in Conti’s arsenal – there are many others and most of them get an outing here. ‘Dolly Mixtures’ is, in turn, anarchically funny, psychologically disturbing and heartbreaking poignant. Meet her back-chatting daughter, straight-talking Granny, the very old Uncle John, frisky Stefan and the tutu-ed rescue dog Killer. It’s possibly not the slickest of shows as the puppets swap about and the tone changes accordingly but it’s certainly an intriguing and innovative spectacle that displays Conti’s talent admirably.

Mon 16 Sep, The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ, 0843 208 6000, 8pm, £15 – restricted view seats only,

Mon 16 Sep
Marissa Burgess
Published on:
Sun 15 Sep 2013