Edinburgh Fringe Review – Leila Navabi, Composition, Pleasance Courtyard

Edinburgh Fringe Review – Leila Navabi, Composition, Pleasance Courtyard

I was talking to another critic earlier this week about the popularity in recent years of "origin stories" - young comedians whose debut shows tell their audience who they are, where they come from etc. I guess it's the equivalent of first albums which encapsulate a short lifetime. There should be plenty of material to choose from even if you are in your twenties like Leila Navabi.

Leila Navabi's debut, Composition, falls firmly into the origin story camp. This eminently affable comedian tells the story of growing up gay, Welsh and Muslim. I won't use the phrase triple threat (sorry, I just did) but there is certainly plenty to unpick there.

And unpick Navabi does. She peppers her potted autobiography, from playground incidents to making a name for herself online and even getting into the tabloids after a joke about Rishi Sunak and Prince Charles, with nifty little musical numbers. More plinky plonk than Lloyd Webber, but a nice accompaniment that keeps the show bubbling along.

One of Navabi's themes is identity. Her gag about Sunak and Charles nabbed her some early notoreity but where do you go from there? Do you take the gigs where you are expected to play on your Gen Z accidental satirist credentials or stick to your guns and do what you really want to do?

There is clearly lots of potential as Navabi reflects on events. She was older than you might think before she even realised she wasn't white, she had a Claire's Accessories fixation (who didn't?) and had an online hit with a song about potatoes.

Playfulness is foregrounded, which is refreshing in a world where opinions and stances are quickly polarised. And there is an echo of young Josie Long in Navabi's zest for life and fondness for a DIY aesthetic.

This debut feels very much like an intro into Navabi's world. It is an impressive intro, but I have a feeling that much better is yet to come. I can't wait to hear the second album.

Until August 27. Tickets here.

Read more reviews here.


three stars


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