Ahir Shah @ Monkey Barrel

Dots is another excellent hour of comedy-existentialism from Ahir Shah

Review by Yasmin Hackett | 16 Aug 2019
  • Ahir Shah @ Monkey Barrel

Ahir Shah has explored what it means to grow up – and what it consequently means to be an adult – in the world we live in today, and finds it wanting.

On the one hand there are people like his father, and Max Weber: people who he sees as possessing conviction and clarity on all matters. But he finds himself unable to do the same. This arc is brought together neatly with a takedown of a commonly-used (and perhaps overly-used) British phrase which has, funnily enough, become the epitome of conviction in the face of difficulty and strife.

There’s a tension between being a millennial ‘person of colour’ (another phrase which he hilariously picks apart) and being woke, and sometimes just wanting to switch off; a feeling which grows as he does. Dots is more broadly themed around relationships (both familial and romantic), being a British second-generation immigrant, religion, politics, and mental health – the usual suspects. The underlying thread of the show, however, is Shah’s feeling of growing up, and the fall out of his own idealism as a result. This becomes tougher, for example, when he considers the difference between ‘adulting’ now versus ‘adulting’ as his parents did; first generation immigrants who grew up in developing countries.

Talking about his family provides an emotional edge, something which has been characteristic of his shows thus far, and the loose structure of the show allow him to ruminate, jumping from one idea to the next. Shah is an incredibly articulate comic, whose verbose build up to the punchline is half the journey, making getting there that much sweeter. The payoff is so good because Dots is not so much dotted as it is deluged with big laughs throughout.

Ahir Shah: DotsMonkey Barrel Comedy (Monkey Barrel 3), until 25 Aug, 1.45pm, £7-£8/PWYW