It's not too unfair to suggest that Jack Whitehall starts this festival with a comedy deficit thanks to the limpness of the TNT Show, his Channel 4 vehicle that follows his stint on E4's Big Brother's Big Mouth. Still, the 21-year old stand-up sets about over-hauling this negative position with great gusto in a show – and Fringe debut – that's so finely tuned as to be almost too efficient.
Bearded yet effeminate, limber but stooped in stature this "spokesman" for middle-class youth inhabits comedic ground somewhere between Russell Brand, Simon Amstell and, to a lesser extent, Alan Carr. Claiming to be too safe to rebel he mocks himself and his audience – "You look as if you have swapped the thyme for the rosemary in a Jamie Oliver recipe" – for barely getting out of their comfort zones. This is harder to do if you are posh and trying to be a rude boy, though there are benefits to being bourgeois: "Sticks and stones may break my bones... but fuck it, I'm with Bupa."
Whitehall proves that he is a good mimic, though he tends to play to the gallery a bit on occasions, staking his intentions to head for the door marked "comedy actor". It's too early to pigeonhole him yet, though.
He can lack subtlety, bludgeoning his targets, almost literally in the case of credit-crunch "culprit" Bob Diamond and by far the richest seam of the show comes in the final 10 to 15 minutes as he focuses on his relationship with his reactionary father. For now, this tight and technically sound set means that he has a solid base for more mature outings later on.
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