Following on from the success of
Machines is making important points in beautiful, funny and often poignant ways.
Despite the seriousness of these issues, Shah packs in the laughs, sprinkling a few more lighthearted jokes into the mix for good measure. He delivers his set with a fervour that is fitting for the topic in hand, although this can make his shifts into silliness seem a little sharp.
Shah’s material is intricately crafted, often melancholically beautiful in tone and so densely written that we frequently sweep through several philosophical points in the space of a single breath. His rhythmic delivery imbues the show with a whiff of spoken word poetry. Suffused with whimsically archaic syntax and poetic turns of phrase - the world today is simultaneously “hyperconnected and atomised” - Shah’s set is painstakingly sewn together with a compact verbal utilitarianism that makes every word feel deliberate, even if they are spoken at hyper-speed.
The eloquence and cleverness of his set is understandably something Shah is aware of, but unfortunately there is a little smugness to his performance style, magnified by the odd brag about his own talent, that ever so slightly hinders the audience’s engagement with him as a performer.
Nevertheless, Machines is making important points in beautiful, funny and often poignant ways. Ahir Shah is going places and his show is definitely one to catch while it’s still free - but if you want to get a seat, make sure to get there early!