Ahir Shah: Control (4 stars)

Ahir Shah: Control

Packed room for politically passionate show about what freedom really means

'Make yourselves comfortable', says Ahir Shah, with a sarcastic emphasis on the adjective, as he beckons another two dozen punters into an already packed Cabaret Voltaire. To call it a tight squeeze would be putting it mildly, but what Shah lacks in stern queue-management skills (and concern for health and safety regulations), he makes up for with a sharp and passionate show about today's political climate.

Control is an hour of quick-witted comedy that takes on a new layer of poignancy a few hours after Shah comes off stage, with the actions of white supremacists in Charlottesville. He questions what 'taking back control' really means. Is it fantasised nostalgia? Is it a smokescreen for racism? Is it in any way a proclamation of substance?

Shah's intellect never comes at the expense of humour. His routine about colonisation contains a great gag about cartographical oddities, he launches an hilariously exasperated attack on Liam Fox's attempts to airbrush centuries of British history, and, for the sake of balance, he offers a pop at 'your absolute boy' Jeremy Corbyn.

Control concludes that we've seen it all before. The rise of Trump and the like is akin to hearing a bad cover version of a song that was horrendous the last time round. This is a terrific hour of comedy. No wonder everybody's desperate to get a seat.

Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire, until 27 Aug, 2pm, free.

Ahir Shah: Control

  • 4 stars

The stand-up ponders freedom, fascism, history, hope, resistance and milk in an age of global socio-political turmoil.

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