Fringe 2017 – – The Inventor of All Things – Review by GRAHAM HICKS 4 of 5 stars

The Inventor of All Things

Big Word Performance

Venue 13, Old Strathcona Public Library
8331 104 St.

Fri. Aug. 18 – 2 p.m.
Sat. Aug. 19 – 6 p.m.
Sun. Aug. 20 – 7 p.m.
Mon. Aug. 21 – 3 p.m.
Tues. Aug. 22 – 8 p.m.
Wed. Aug. 23 – 7:45 p.m.
Fri. Aug. 25 – 10:15 p.m.
Sat. Aug. 26 – 5 p.m.
Sun. Aug. 27 – 3:30 p.m.

Duration: 75 minutes

4 of 5 stars

English performance poet/storyteller extraordinaire/standup comedian Jem Rolls is a Fringe institution, and, having become an acquired taste, is a performer that his legions of fans would never think of missing.
At this year’s Fringe, Rolls is reprising his show from 2015, The Inventor of All Things. 

It’s a little disappointing to see a show Rolls has already performed, but his mad-cap meditation on the invention of the atomic bomb by brilliant peace-loving physicists, through the eyes of the forgotten but brilliant Jewish Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard, has enough nooks and crannies  and sheer enjoyment of the Rolls school of physical story-telling to warrant the remake.

Rolls is as brilliant on the communications side of the ledger as the scientific genius he so aptly describes. 

Imagine the polar opposite of a cold, dry, lecture on an historical figure, delivered from behind a podium in a monotone by a professor as unmoving as a rock.

Imagine if said professor was suddenly possessed by a whirling dervish – magically transported to a Harry Potter interior world.  Where the professor acted out momentous scenes, playing each character, where the professor could amplify the world-impacting events with grunts and groans and frantic dance. 

Imagine the professor taking the class to a world where conspirators lurk on every corner, where the stakes were so high that personality clashes and politics short-circuited brilliant scientific careers … because choices costing billions of dollars and possibly glorious victory or utter mushroom-shaped defeat had to be made. 

That’s what Jem Rolls does in this hour-long one-man tour-de-force, earning a standing ovation every time he performs. 

And there is so much pain-staking research and developmental process going into a Jem Rolls’ thematic show, that it’s not surprising a new production would take two to three years of work before being ready for this performer’s stage.

Meanwhile, we await with anticipation whatever Jem Rolls is working on for the 2018 Fringe!