Vancouver Fringe Festival review: Jem Rolls Is Pissed Off has undeniable energy

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After a friend observed that performance poet Jem Rolls was “much more entertaining when things go wrong”, the Brit performer decided to build a show around being pissed off: “I’m English—it’s what we do,” he explains. But, in a hilarious storytelling monologue, Rolls recounts how an “awful and inappropriate sense of happiness” stemmed the tide of his customary caffeinated rants. Not completely, though: in his poems, Rolls does get pissed off—about selfish tourists, cat spray, the “bonsai brains” of the small-minded, and the passivity induced by our increasing dependence on technology. Rolls’s energy is undeniable, though his volume sometimes overrides his intelligibility. The best thing about his rants is their humility: in acknowledging his own failings, Rolls makes us all feel more connected. And that’s nothing to be pissed off about.

At the Waterfront Theatre on September 9 (5 p.m.), 11 (7:25 p.m.), 12 (5:15 p.m.), 14 (10:30 p.m.), 16 (9:05 p.m.), and 17 (2:10 p.m.).

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