Jack Whitehall: At Large
- Brian Donaldson
- 16 January 2017
Can a well-off, well-spoken comedian be a man of the people?
'Relatability' is all the rage. So in these times of heel-dragging austerity where the world's richest eight people have as much loot as the entire world's poorest 50%, a posh lad filling our ears with talk of shopping at Waitrose, living in Notting Hill, and allowing Hollywood to pay for an array of lavish hotel suites might feel wholly inappropriate.
Yet, Jack Whitehall presents each of those scenarios with enough nuance to suggest that, actually, he's just as much of a failure in life than anyone in his room. He may have a preferred upmarket retailer but the superstore he's been advertising for is perceived to be a few notches down the food chain, while he's non-famous enough to be easily messed around by film studios (hence an increasingly hilarious tale of being forced to lodge for weeks in a Disneyland Paris hotel).
While comic after comic will spend much of this year tackling Brexit, Trump and the scary rise of right-wing nationalism, Whitehall rather wisely sidesteps such pesky social issues when international air travel and the UK's rail network still (apparently) offer catch-all routes to comedy glory. Sticking to what he's very good at, this 28-year-old comic actor uses all the tools he picked up at drama school to rinse mirth from any given situation while showing that his writing skills are becoming ever sharper.
Whitehall opens with a quickfire, potted-video CV which gets all his celeb pals out of the way: Freddie Flintoff, James Corden and the Bad Education crew are joined by Ma 'n' Pa Whitehall in an elongated ruse about our Jack struggling to reach the venue on time. In the film, he emerges from a drunken stupor with 'TWAT' scrawled across his forehead, and through the course of 90-plus minutes on stage, he's at great pains to portray himself as a walking, talking idiot. Just like you and me.
Jack Whitehall: At Large is on tour until Tue 28 Feb; seen at Edinburgh Playhouse.