Jack Whitehall, Genting Arena, Birmingham - review

Jack Whitehall has considerable stand-up pedigree but thousands among the Genting Arena audience will have known him best for his work on TV.

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Jack Whitehall

His sitcom Bad Education was so popular they made a film from it, and he is a regular on panel shows, not least James Corden’s A League of Their Own.

So the question for many was would they find him as funny all alone on a huge arena stage?

Well if there is one thing that Whitehall is not, that is understated.

Without giving too much away, he emerges from behind the curtain in dramatic style, accompanied by an animal. A large animal.

This large animal proceeds to leave an unfortunate gift and the audience are left in no doubt of the kind of comedy they can expect from the rest of the show.

Much of the subject matter is unoriginal - I’m talking the tendency of Brit’s to be over-polite, anecdotes about Stag Dos and gender stereotypes.

But it must be said that Whitehall has perfected his delivery and has no problem whatsoever winning over the crowd.

Like all comedians he is positively self-deprecating. He is also loud, authentic, brash and camp.

Perhaps it’s because I have an older brother the same age as Whitehall - he will be 29 this year - but my emotions towards him were like those you have for the family man-child.

You simply cannot help but like him but also enjoy sharing in his relentless misfortune.

To that end, those familiar with Whitehall’s stand-up work will be familiar with his jokes about former schoolmate Robert Pattinson.

There is more of the same in this tour with the Twilight star featuring heavily.

Whitehall’s role in Disney’s Frozen - or lack of role - is another hilarious tale which features prominently, culminating in a ridiculous finale.

Worth mentioning is that throughout the show there is a great use of digital displays.

And Whitehall always looks like he has having a genuinely great time on stage.

So while this is far from a reinvention of stand-up, Whitehall is fantastic at what he does and even more enjoyable than he is on TV.

The tour returns to Birmingham later this month, at the Barclaycard Arena.

By Rob Cox

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