★ ★ ★ ★
A natural born performer with great stage presence who knows how to entertain.
It was my first Saturday night at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year so what better show to watch than one entitled Mr Saturday Night? And that show belonged to newcomer Jack Gleadow who last year performed a 15-minute set at the Pleasance as part of their Comedy Reserve.
His debut hour is a love letter to Sir Bruce Forsyth, the Saturday night telly of seventies and eighties and in many ways an audition for Jack Gleadow to be the next 'Mr Saturday Night' - because has he puts it, we no longer have those all-round entertainers like Brucie on our screens.
And it's a good audition. Jack is clearly a natural born performer with great stage presence who knows how to entertain. His style is reminiscent of the greats he admires from the golden era of Saturday night telly and his performance style is the dictionary definition of variety. He entertains through physical humour, traditional joke-telling, video, magic, songs, dances and quizzes including the brilliant Brucie or Akabusi? where an audience member has to work out who a quote belongs to.
Mr Saturday Night is a very solid debut that you'd expect from someone with more experience than Jack. But is he the next big Saturday night entertainer who could front his own show on BBC One or ITV? Not right now. But that's not to say he won't be.
He only has one Fringe show under his belt (well, half a run at the time of writing) and it's his debut. He needs to prove that he can deliver fresh material every time he returns to the festival, that he can maintain relevancy and ultimately grow his audience and play in far bigger rooms. And I believe that he can, if he's this good now, imagine how good he'd be in 5-10 years time?
He's also hugely likeable, warm and charming which goes a long way in this industry.
Jack Gleadow: Mr Saturday Night runs until 25th August (not 12th) at 5.45pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (Below). Book tickets here.