Ahir Shah: Dots (4 stars)

This article is from 2019

Ahir Shah: Dots

credit: The Other Richard

Just another hour of intelligence, ideas and jokes

As a refresher course for Ahir Shah devotees, he kicks off Dots with the familiar routine about the culture clash of his voice and skin colour. It hits the mark as usual, but today there's an extra resonance because Shah is suffering badly from a sore throat, his vocal cords sounding as though they are about to snap at any second. Fresh top-ups of water are called for on several occasions during the hour, but despite such a clear impediment, this is quite simply another blistering Fringe set from one of the country's true rising stand-up stars.

Dots tackles another cross-section of overarching ideas and personal incidents which bash against each other, causing several layers of friction between politics, history, censorship, religion and society as Shah continues to seek nothing less than the meaning of existence. But with jokes. And plenty of them. He rails against the Twitterati's insistence that everyone must have a fully formed opinion on everything at all times, when it should be perfectly OK to sit out the odd argument now and again. Shah is amused and amazed that 'person of colour' is an acceptable phrase now, the meeting which gave the thumbs-up to that particular 'c' word was clearly convened without his knowledge.

As the world threatens to implode, Shah is trying hard to better himself; he's been on and off anti-depressants in the last year while his trips to the gym have proved to be disappointingly positive occurrences. With two Edinburgh Comedy Award nominations in a row having made their way to him, few would bet against this year being marked by a hat-trick of shortlistings. For passion, intelligence and gag-writing expertise, Ahir Shah is positioned permanently on the winner's podium.

Monkey Barrel, until 25 Aug, 1.45pm, £7–£8 in advance or donations at the venue.

Ahir Shah: Dots

  • 4 stars

Double Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Ahir Shah explores love, politics, depression and faith with his usual philosophical bent in his new hour.