Jack Whitehall’s fast-track to TV fame makes him an easy target, but the 21-year-old has a pretty good debut Edinburgh show, writes Jay Richardson.
Having established himself on television with varying degrees of success, Jack Whitehall makes a pretty efficient attempt at polishing his stand-up reputation with this slick Fringe debut.
Despite his cocksure swagger he skilfully tempers any resentment towards the dreadful TNT Show or his privileged background by acknowledging his comedy career as a cry for attention, just one more instance of his desire to rebel coming unstuck.
He laments his lack of manliness and recalls the embarrassing episode in which he flirted his way out of a fight, interspersing this with solid observations on terrorism, the credit crunch, swine flu and all manner of zeitgeist-nailing topics. Although he has a frustrating tendency to grandstand when a more subtle physical performance might do his material more credit, you can’t help but be impressed by such precocious talent in a 21-year-old.
Moreover his cracks at fellow yoof presenter George Lamb’s expense are deliciously vicious and help set him apart from the inanity of that broadcasting world. Still, the most compelling part of Whitehall’s set is the glimpse he offers of his reactionary father, the old man’s temper tantrums served up at boiling point in a blistering but surprisingly affectionate finale.
Jack Whitehall – Nearly Rebellious is on until August 30 (except August 18, 25) at 7.15pm at the Pleasance Courtyard. Click here for tickets.