Jem Rolls: TEN STARTS AND AN END – Toronto Fringe 2012 Press Release

From Press Release


  • A lyrical evocation of the joys and possibilities of language.
  • A comedic routine on how the age-old battle between the generations is now being won hands down by the old. Who are employing the trumpiest trump card at their disposal – their unprecedented capacity to destroy the planet the young will inherit.
  • Whoops, sorry son…well you should’ve been nicer…
  • One Minute Canada  – The longest tongue-twister in Canadian History, or rather Geography – a sixty second verbal surge across Canada from East to West.
  • A comic London tale of Jem’s worst birthday present ever.
  • Amoral Tale – A short blasted rant on how a voraciously Machiavellian battler up the slippery slope soon finds himself condemned to the bottom.

Jem Rolls returns with a motorised charge into the glories of language. For his 9th Toronto since 2001. Jem’s first Canadian Fringe was Toronto and his life was certainly never the same again. And much much the better for it.

Jem’s Canadian tours are unparalleled within the medium of Spoken Word. Every year his shows are amongst the most successful touring shows on the Canadian Fringe Circuit. And he has a press record few can match. With 150+ four star reviews and 30+ five-star.

Jem is a performance poet, not an actor and a comedian – and it is the drive to be innovative with his medium that drives his shows into new ground. So every year Jem learns new techniques. This year it will be sound poetry, an improvised piece and a new height of lyricism.

Sound poetry has a fine tradition in Canada – and clearly has a use within narrative or comic poetry – the stressing and repetition of syllables, vowels or consonants for comic and bizarre and even storytelling effect.

Jem also attempts to be original. SPOILER ALERT. Few genuinely novel ideas spring from the Fringe Circuit, but Jem is going to poetically ask the audience to consider the apparently original line that,

I give you all
human history
as the sad sorry proof
that those who will be brutal
will begin
by being brutal
with the truth…

Poetic inspirations would seem more diverse than ever. They include:

  • How pelicans headbutt the waves. GoogleMaps Canada. The theme from Spiderman and 30 year old radio jingles.
  • The whingeing of both the Tory press Jem grew up with, and Hesiod the Ancient Greek poet. A World Health Organisation report on the overuse of antibiotics. Edmonton Waterpark. The laugh track from Hannah Montana.
  • Big Bill Broonzy. TS Eliot. Stalin. Karl Rove. Naguib Mahfouz’s Sugar Street. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.
  • Some stoned hippy drivel and desultory existential angsting. Watching a pig eat in Badami in Central India.
  • Plus an all-you-can-eat ice cream shop in Thailand. And a geriatric Hindu monk Jem met in Tamil Nadu.
 All this plus an uncelebration of our age of unprecedented selfishness – where the audience cry out in unison Pay More Attention To Me.

And a high-energy and fluidly lyrical surge of a finale Shut Me In Shut Me Out.

George Ignatieff Theatre, 15 Devonshire Place.

Thurs, July 5th, 6:30
Sat July 7th, 10:15pm
Tues, July 10th, 6:15
Weds, 11th, 4:30
Thurs, July 12th, 10:15pm
Fri, July 13th, 6:45
Sun, July 15th, 7:45