Ahir Shah: Texture
Smart, adrenal, thespy show is a clever but often frantic set
This article is from 2014.
Ahir Shah could probably write this review himself as he chucks in self-assessing jibes (mostly nailing it) all through his smart, adrenal, thespy show. A Cambridge graduate and one-time writer for Skins, he praises his own ‘linguistic verve’ and ‘exquisite structural callbacks’, adding that he’d make ‘a very funny lecturer’ but a ‘bad stand-up’. That last bit’s not true, but there are points where his pseudo-academic flourishes lose the crowd, only to draw them back with hyper-analyses of his Hinduism or close-knit Anglo-Indian family.
Constantly signposting and annotating his set, he knows it’s a mix of ‘the adult and juvenile’: he’s a 23-year-old Londoner living in Peckham Rye, who reads Stendhal but doesn’t understand Snapchat. Mixing laments about ‘being priced out of being a Londoner’, and feeling ‘otherised’ (he describes his appearance as ‘the physique of a man you could save for just £2 a month!’) he also buzzes between colonialism, binge drinking and the elephant god Ganesh.
It’s an intelligent, if still too-frantic set, but the shape of an intriguing comedian is definitely emerging. Shah’s eyes dazzle towards the few in the crowd laughing at his more obscure gags: ‘You will form the vanguard of my bloodless coup!’ Who could turn that down?
The Counting House, 667 7533, until 24 Aug, 5pm, free.