jem rolls ATTACKS THE SILENCE (big word performance poetry) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review


Jem Rolls is a pretty dynamic man. He would have to be, to captivate an audience for a full hour with only his voice, his stories, his poems. Some people have this quality where they needn’t do much and people will enjoy watching them. Jem is one such lucky folk.

Not to suggest he isn’t talented. He’s a spoken word/performance poetry artist and his show jem rolls ATTACKS THE SILENCE, part of this year’s Fringe Festival, is clever, quick, teeming with wit. His delivery is theatrical and captivating. He has all the right measures of provocative bravado and norm-subversion that you’d expect from spoken word.

And he’s doing his own thing. I’ve heard a lot about Jem Rolls but this was my first time seeing him. I have seen a number of spoken word poetry performances before. And Jem seems to be a genre all his own.

He’s making some interesting points about the world we live in, questioning authority and bigotry, encouraging us to laugh at ourselves, inviting us to laugh at him. But unlike a lot of spoken word I’ve seen, he never gets preachy. He’s not here to prove anything.

He’s here to entertain! And he does. And what a novel idea for poetry, that lofty realm of literature rarely used for such ‘unlofty’ purposes.

So for me, with my background in English Lit, there is a lot of “cool” going on. It’s pretty cool that Jem is able to bring us lofty entertainment, he is undeniably the poet and undeniably the entertainer and I’m not sure we see that so often – especially at Fringe.

And yet he is a Fringe regular! That is the other cool bit, for me. For years Jem and his literary amusements have been a Fringe mainstay, all over the world. He stands out from the other acts in this festival. All hail the trailblazer!


jem rolls ATTACKS THE SILENCE is playing at George Ignatieff Theatre (15 Devonshire Place)

Show times

July 04 06:30 PM
July 07 08:15 PM
July 08 01:00 PM
July 10 07:30 PM
July 11 04:00 PM
July 12 12:00 PM
July 13 06:15 PM

  • Tickets for all Mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only.
  • Advance tickets are $11, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062 ext. 1), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West)
  • Money-saving value packs are also available; see website for details.
  • LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.

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