A reviews round-up for Alex Edelman’s Just For Us at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London.
In the show, comedian Alex Edelman takes the audience through hilarious anecdotes from his life, including an astonishing and frighteningly relevant story: after a string of antisemitic abuse is directed at Edelman online, he decides to covertly attend a gathering of White Nationalists in New York City and comes face to face with the people behind the keyboards.
The result is a hair-raising encounter that gives Just For Us its title and final, jaw-dropping twist.
Alex Edelman: Just For Us is playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory until 26 February 2023.
Read reviews from the Evening Standard, The Stage, TimeOut and more.
More reviews to follow
Alex Edelman: Just for Us reviews
"Brilliantly, intricately funny"
"Edelman is a compelling, super-energetic performer, witheringly smart and laceratingly self-critical, expertly cranking and relaxing the throttle of his hectic narrative. He admits he wants us to like him, and it’d be extremely hard not to."
"The arc of the show demands that he learns something. I won’t share his takeaway from his ‘day at the racists’, but like most of the preceding 90 minutes it is clever and brilliantly, intricately funny."
"As thoughtful as it is beguiling"
"Whip-smart comedy explores what connects and divides us"
"Edelman has been performing the piece with various refinements and modifications since its first outing in New York in 2018, and it is impeccably smooth. Every gesture of artfully channelled manic energy, each wide-eyed personal confidence and sharply observed, economically conveyed character is delivered with consummate ease on a stage bare but for three stools."
"Edelman serves everything up with the lightest, deftest of touches, though it left me craving a little more sting. But it’s as thoughtful as it is beguiling: a show that stares ugliness in the face while wearing a defiantly broad grin."
"Jewish comic Alex Edelman holds forth on the time he infiltrated a white nationalist meeting in this warm, witty stand-up show"
"‘Just for Us’ is very much stand-up comedy, but it’s very theatrical within that, an almighty piece of raconteurism that sees the very awkward, very Jewish Edelman recount the time when he whimsically decided to attend a white nationalist meeting in Queens."
"It’s this simultaneous evisceration and celebration of his background that defines the show... he’s got a gawky warmth to him that really sells his strange adventures to us. I’m still not 100 percent clear why he went to the meeting, and I don’t think he is either. But against all odds, it seems like a good idea that he did."
"The funny side of a Jewish comedian infiltrating a group of White Nationalists"
"Premiered in Edinburgh in 2018, and delayed by Covid, this buffed-up London transfer is a case of an outlandish true story, brilliantly told"
"Edelman, a dry performer with a taste for puns, has an eye for the absurd – jigsaw puzzles and pastries feature here – and is the master of callbacks. It may help to be Jewish to appreciate every last joke, but there are so many smart lines and throwaway gags across the show’s 80 minutes that missing the odd reference doesn’t detract from the enjoyment.
"While Edelman doesn’t dig too deep into what antisemitism feels like up close and personal, this is a beautifully constructed show – and he ends on a high with a doozy of a payoff."
"... as a Jewish New York comedian, he once spent an evening at a meeting of white supremacists. The specifics on this — how he ended up there; how it went down (spoiler: tricky) — form the content of his brilliant one-man show Just for Us."
"It’s laugh-out-loud funny and beautifully delivered by Edelman in Adam Brace’s production. But running through this sharp-eyed solo show are deep and serious points about empathy, about the complexity of identity, about the danger of echo chambers and about the ugly, deep-rooted presence of anti-Semitism in modern society."
"I had to check my ribcage for intercostal damage"
"The tradition of Jewish stand-up comedians stretches back to Vaudeville and the Catskills hotels where the likes of Jack Benny, Mel Brooks and Jackie Mason cut their comic teeth."
"His engagement with the audience is exemplary, turning self-effacement into an art form, particularly in his ill-considered wooing of the lovely Aryan Chelsea, the only girl at the meeting. He adopts the quiet/loud approach favoured by post-punk rock groups such as Nirvana and Pixies that keep us on full alert. By the end, I had to check my ribcage for intercostal damage."
"Whoever had the idea of mic-ing him up in this intimate venue must be seriously hard of hearing."
"It's a pretty slight yarn and much of Edelman's 90-minute act is taken up with digressions about Robin Williams, Coco the signing gorilla and the ins and outs of ethnic hierarchies in today's Boston. But the refreshing thing is that the stand-up has a gift for sniffing out loony-toon conspiracy theorists lurking in many a closet."