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Review: Jack Whitehall, SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Our verdict: four stars

He's already an established star of the small screen, revered in Fresh Meat and Bad Education, and a posh presence in many a panel show.

But can Jack Whitehall transfer his undoubted, award-winning talents to the cavernous hall on Clydeside, on the third date of his arena tour?

For that matter, how does Glasgow's showcase venue function as a home to a one-man comedy show? (Only Mickey Flanagan has been here so far, and comedians Russell Howard and Miranda Hart will be taking to the stage later this month.)

Well, the answer is resoundingly positive on both counts.

With only the minimum of theatrical staging, Whitehall has this massive audience on his side from the off, and keeps them there throughout a fast-paced, two-hour treat.

He succeeds by employing an informal, chatty delivery; it's like your mate telling stories in the pub - about drink, sex, parents, testicular cancer, hypochondria. Crucially, these are his stories, and the direct connection bridges the huge physical gap in the Hydro.

Whitehall is also savvy enough to locate his narrative firmly in the city, with upbeat namechecks for Buckie, the Viking Bar in Maryhill, and a paean to the raw honesty (and child muzzles) of Easterhouse. A deft, if easy, put-down of Edinburgh did no harm.

Main highlight of a strong performance was a celebration of the Lion King, complete with Whitehall's own anti-stampede strategy to save Mufasa's offspring. Honest.

But perhaps what underlined his triumph was the finale: only a truly great comic can destroy a climactic joke by mixing up Geordie and Jamaican accents, reduce himself to desperate corpsing and memory loss, and still have the crowd in hysterics. (If it was planned, it was brilliantly done; we believed it was just Whitehall demonstrating how at ease he is with himself as a performer.)

His tour motto is "Get it wrong...gotta be strong." Jack Whitehall got very little wrong, and the response from Glasgow was deservedly strong.

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