Travis Edward Pike: The Grumpuss
Otherworld Cottage Industries. 2017 release. $22.95
Travis Edward Pikes Grumpuss is an enchanting tale of a monster-sized cat and the quest of one knight, Sir Ellery, to subdue it for the sake of salvaging his kingdom.
The entire tale, carved into 4 distinct "acts (1 hour 38 minutes running time in the video version, 2 cassette tapes worth for the audio only version), is a rhyming epic-style romance in the spirit of the magical stories told by medieval bards before royal courts. And true to the spirit of that medieval inspiration, Pike performs the entire poem from memory! Thats right. Nary a cue card in sight.
|The 79-minute Studio Recording CDsThe 98-minute live performance DVD
| You would think that a long performance like this would be boring as it slammed up against our short attention spans. Au contraire! I found it refreshing and charming.
The Grumpuss will be a sure fire hit for children. It has the lilting playful rhymes of a Dr. Suess book (albeit not as zany as Suess), that should captivate any youngster. But the story has appeal for adults too, if for nothing else than to get a taste of the kind of entertainment that would have pleased the eyes and ears of courtly types before the days of deep dish tv and Frequency Modulated radio waves.
Youll be amazed how anyone could have committed this type of long poem to memory, and yet, there it is before your eyes and ears -- proof that it can be done, and done well. Anyone interested in oral poetry would find much of value in The Grumpuss.
Pike provides an expert actors touch to the various characters in his poem -- infusing them with quirky voices, by turns husky, wheedling, and fluid. Its the kind of narrative poetry that will send your imagination on a sort of magical balloon ride.
reviewed by James Esch
This review was posted more than 20-years-ago. Technological advances dictated that the original hi-definition 30 ips analog studio recording be replaced with a re-mastered digital transfer for the current Grumpuss 15th Anniversary Audio Theater CD package, and the VHS version be re-mastered from the original PAL digibeta to the current Grumpuss 1977 Premiere Performance DVD, resulting in both the audio and video versions having significantly enhanced imagery and clearer sound than ever before. Visit the Otherworld Cottage CD and DVD Catalog to read reviews, liner notes, production notes and reviews, and listen to excerpts from the Grumpuss 15th Anniversary Audio Theater Edition, or preview clips from the Grumpuss 1997 Premiere Performance