Review: JUST FOR US at Woolly Mammoth

Just For Us runs through December 23.

By: Nov. 20, 2022
Review: JUST FOR US at Woolly Mammoth
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National audiences had a chance to see Alex Edelman earlier this year; last season, when Just for Us ran in New York, he did a short set on Colbert and sat for an interview with Seth Meyers. But, for once, more is actually more: the 90 minute one-man play, directed by Adam Brace, will be at Woolly through December 23 (A ticket would make a great Chanukah gift, December 18, this year).

Edelman, a stand-up comedian with the neshoma of a playwright, has the unusual gift of being able to tell several stories simultaneously: think of one of those handknit, Irish sweaters with many different stitches, variegated textures, several patterns--but unified into one garment. Edelman, the performer, deftly shifts moods, styles, and characterizations in just the right proportion as he follows the narratives that Edelman, the writer, tells, interrupts, and then always concludes at just the right moment. In both roles, Edelman smoothly manages funny, witty, serious, profound, depressing, uplifting--you know, life.

No spoilers, but topics in the play include Boston, anti-Semitism, Santa Claus, orthodox Judaism, white supremacy, Robin Williams, Olympic skeleton racing, Jared Kushner, and Queens (the borough, not Ru Paul's troupe.) Thematically, Edelman writes, talks (lives, breathes, and practices) the Jewish obligation of tikkun olam. Most of his stories are rooted in the notion that healing the world or helping it heal ought to be done daily and routinely. So even though this is an evening filled with laughter, deep caring underpins Just for Us. So young Edelman is to be such a mensch; (so Yoda Jewish was?)

Photo Credit: Teresa Castracane


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