December 3, 2023

Jem Rolls @ Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013


(4 Stars)

Jem Rolls is loud and fast. He takes to the stage without a microphone and holds the audiences attention with his booming voice and his first class poetry. The delivery is almost electric, as he stalks up and down the stage and even up the aisles, while delivering his lines. Each of the finely delivered poems seem fresh out of the box and the words flow without skipping a beat.

When Jen Rolls recites a poem on the topic of speed (entitled ‘Is It Just Me Or Is The Whole Word Speeding Up) it is hard to believe that his delivery could get any faster. However he takes it up a gear and is like a machine gun going off as the words keep on coming and coming.

The performance is an absolute joy to watch and even more enjoyable to hear. The back room of the Banshee Labyrinth is jam packed as Jem expertly reels off his poetry on topics including his childhood in Surrey, education and of course sex.

At times Jem takes it down a notch and accounts stories of his past and how he grew up near a military base and how this has shaped his outlook on life. These stories are still performed with heart and intrigue and his clear resonant voice does not waver even when he is giving the poetry a rest.

Jem Rolls is an impressive stage prescience and one with an extraverted outgoing personality.  His expressive hands and confident demeanor make him one of the most visually engaging performance poets around. Comparisons could be made with John Cooper Clarke as both are big personalities with a relentless delivery and both have style and intelligence in their work.

Jem Rolls is definitely essential viewing for anyone with an interest in the spoken word and performance poetry. Just make sure that you are prepared to keep up with his break neck speed and quick fire words.

Until 24th (not 20th) of August 2013
20.40 – 21.40

The Banshee Labyrinth
Fringe Venue 156
29 – 35 Niddry Street

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