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Jack Whitehall: Learning Difficulties

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Overexposed but talented Jack Whitehall continues to write what he knows for his second solo show. Still a youthful 22, that comprises mainly: his shameless father who will say anything outlandish to get a quote into the show, his school days …. Oh, and being caught snorting coke in the News Of The World.

His delivery of all this is textbook, and after a few years of copying bits of other comedians, he is now starting to come into his own, the animated, campish delivery coming more fluid as he holds the audience with confidence and easy banter.

Some of the material, especially in the first third of the show, is, however, more formulaic – mocking, for example, Nick Griffin, the pointlessness of learning to play the recorder, or the Tricolore French textbooks which isn’t enhanced by an exaggerated, over-long and under-funny recreation of how the authors coming up with their ideas.

His drama student days provide much more fertile ground, as all-consuming jealousy for the success of one of his classmates festers into wonderfully petty routines. The desire for revenge may be heightened for comic effect, but there’s no doubt that Twilight star Robert Pattinson has done rather well for himself.

Tales of living at home, both as a teenager and a young adult, also provide rich material, with incidents such as him melodramatically threatening to run away every time he didn’t get his own petulant way sure to strike a cord.

The poignant end routine doesn’t quite sit so naturally, and the emotion-tugging seems a little forced. Plus to pay off with a cheap and obvious pun trivialises any drama he’d been hoping to build.

Nonetheless, this is a rock-solid show with some hugely entertaining routines from a comic who seems born to be on stage. Wonder how long it will be before Robert Pattinson is jealous of him..?

Review date: 11 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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