Review: Leila Navabi: Composition

Assured debut from the viral musical comic with an impish sense of humour

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Leila Navabi
Photo by Collective14 Imagery
Published 14 Aug 2023

Leila Navabi is barely in their 20s and has already tasted viral fame twice: firstly for their epic musical ode to potatoes (who knew there were so many rhymes for jacket) and secondly for bullying Rishi Sunak. You might question how a self-described Queer, Brown Welsh Imp pulled off apparently causing emotional damage to one of the richest men in the UK, but who are we to doubt the tabloids as trustworthy sources…

Composition is testament to Navabi’s versatility. Anything and everything can, and should be a song in their world – from Queer awakenings in Claire's Accessories to the danger of equine pursuits. It’s a whiplash hour of stupidity and true vulnerability, that somehow never tips over into earnestness. 

Brilliantly paced, their material flows with a naturalism that feels both confident and crafted with the improvisations especially well handled. It’s hard to believe this is a debut as they rip the piss out of the audience with the cool of a seasoned pro. There is polish still to come, both in production values and command of the space, but these are teething issues for an artist who is ready to take on anything. After all, she’s already survived the Daily Mail comment section.

Navabi is a resilient, hilarious human and while they might not have fully shaken off the cancellation-risk that is Tory baiting, she’s summoned the inner strength (and magic of BBC Radio Wales) to create this assured show. Plus, she was right about Sunak...and she’s brought receipts.