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Review: Jack Whitehall: At Large

Today, it’s incredibly easy for comedians to connect with and reach out to the public. Their use of social media, YouTube and even instant video services means it is hard to imagine why anyone would want to pay to actually sit down and watch someone talk on stage. However, Jack Whitehall has reaffirmed my belief that there is no better place for comedy than at its origin – the theatre.

There is no doubt about it, Jack Whitehall is a man who knows his roots. Brought up in south-west London, Whitehall embodies every stereotype of privilege. From his accent to the supermarkets he shops in, Whitehall is a character who might have struggled to find an audience but, instead of facing rejection, he has been embraced by the competitive UK comedy circuit. With regular appearances on A League of Their Own and after writing and starring in his own sitcom Bad Education, Whitehall personifies “The Toffier One” in all of us.

Indeed, Whitehall’s second tour, Jack Whitehall: At Large, begins with a sketch from his beloved Waitrose in which he alludes to brioche and various upper-class stereotypes. Whitehall plays on his camp, Notting Hill charm to get the audience onside and within the first 10 minutes he had Bristol in stitches.

What appeals time and time again is Jack Whitehall’s self-mockery. Numerous personal stories are at the forefront of his show, with embarrassing passport pictures, videos and anecdotes intricately woven together to take the audience on a whirlwind tour of his 28-year life. The experiences that he draws on are so abnormal that his comedy often leaves audiences wondering how his childish character really did get to a black tie event with Prince Harry. Much like Michael McIntyre, who has obviously been a great influence on Whitehall, Jack is a “posh” comedian who knows his place. He understands that not everyone enjoys an upper-class tone and I think it is this apologetic understanding that resonates through his script that makes Whitehall such a charming and witty character.

Once I had sat down in the theatre, it was as if I had entered Whitehall’s own little upper-class bubble. His infectious enthusiasm and bombardment of jokes really do make for an unrivalled comedy experience. He captures an audience and explains what it is like to be a part of the Disney classic Frozen and even to audition for Harry Potter. However, it is his consistent childlike excitement that makes At Large such an enjoyable show.

Whilst his comedy may feel outdated in the future, right now Jack Whitehall is the pick-me-up that 2017 deserves. He really does bring out the child in all of us.

★★★★☆

 Jack Whitehall is on tour until 28 February 2017