Review: Jack Whitehall

Jack Whitehall may not be fresh meat on the comedy circuit any more, but he could still do with some more seasoning.

Self-absorbed, arrogant and pretentious. These are all charges that have been levelled at me, and are qualities I keenly recognise. And Jack Whitehall has them in spades.

To some extent his bravado is justified. There are not many comics that can command two sell-out nights so early in their career, and he has won plaudits recently for his appearances in Channel Four sitcom Fresh Meat.

But at the Norwich Playhouse tonight he showed that he's going to need to find more to trade on.

The gig teetered on the edge of belly-laughs for most of the show but Whitehall only managed to go over the top on a couple of occasions, weaving long stories about Nandos, his childhood Christmas wishes and Kate Middleton that didn't quite live up to their promise.

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His set seemed to save the best for the second half; for his own good he should have brought some of it forward to tickle the audience earlier and give shelter to the softer material.

Cultural references to Jeremy Kyle and the iPhone felt slightly outdated (though positively revolutionary against some lazy stereotyping of Americans, Scots and Geordies) but he did elicit some genuinely poignant and personal moments when talking about his relationships and his grandparents.

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Whitehall has the potential to be a great comedian - he has a strong personality, a fast wit and an irritatingly likeable quality - but tonight that was a promise that went unfulfilled.

- Jack Whitehall returns to the Norwich Playhouse on Saturday, October 1. The gig is sold out but check with the Playhouse for returns.

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