Wednesday, 18 August 2010

journal review

Fringe regular Jem Rolls loses none of his trademark physicality in this departure from his usual perambulating performance poetry shows.

This time out, the angular Brit sticks to one narrative — all right, with some digressions — in demonstrating yet again his rare knack for working over prose and metaphors until they shine with impressionistic splendour.

One Man Riot finally reveals the secret of all this shout-out wordplay Rolls has immersed himself in over the years. All those thousands of shows, those sweat-stained shirts, those countless well-timed vocal crescendoes got their start in the bloody streets of Piccadilly back in London, 1990, during the infamous poll tax riots. Rolls’s funny and vivid account of the events of that day, and the odd little role he played in them, makes for clever social commentary, and a ripping good story.

And it’s a story that may come with a ghost, if that’s to your liking.

3 1/2 stars

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