Multimedia Review

Grumpuss 1997 Premiere Performance on VHS
DVD, color, 99 min. Otherworld Cottage Industries. 2020 release. $22.95

Gr4Up  Wandering poet and storyteller, Travis Edward Pike, stumbles upon a fairy mound. Threatened with terrible punishment by the fairy queen, he must tell a story which is riveting, funny, scary  all in rhyme. Pike tells of a celery-loving knight, Sir Ellery, charged with subduing the Grumpuss, a fierce, cat-like beast large as a horse. Courageous yet tender-hearted, Sir Ellery receives help from a dwarf wizard who suggests that the Grumpuss might be befriended, not killed. Sir Ellerys plans to parade triumphantly through the kingdom turn to disaster when the Grumpusss allergies to grain and celery cause him to attack the knight. Sir Ellerys just nature prevents him from harming the Grumpuss. He arrives at a solution fair to the innocent Grumpuss and all wild creatures in the kingdom. Filmed at Blenheim Castle in Oxfordshire, England for Save the Children, this narrative poem is imaginative and absorbing. Pikes superb telling of his original poem is witty, dramatic and sometimes wistful. The music (also composed by Pike) is a mix of medieval and contemporary, a perfect complement to the tale. An intricate dance blending acrobatics and ballet performed by three young girls (the fairies) as an intermission adds an ethereal touch. Themes of peace, compassion, and courage echo through this story, but Pikes telling makes them wonderfully fun yet thought-provoking and never heavy-handed. An outstanding choice for school and public library collections.Nancy L. Chu, Western Illinois University, Macomb

Since this October 1999 review was posted over 20-years-ago, technological advances dictated that the 1998 VHS release be replaced by a remastered Grumpuss 2020 Premiere Performance on DVD. The live benefit performance at Blenheim Palace for the Save the Children Fund was originally shot digitally, with the result that this new DVD is vastly superior to the earlier VHS release. To view DVD clips, reviews, and production notes, or to place an order, visit the Otherworld Cottage CD and DVD Catalog.