The Omnipresent Puppet Theater’s production of “Gumshoe McMonocle and the Strange Case of Rumpelsomething” is a throwback. Hand puppets, the real primitive sort, not the ones where the eyes roll and nose wrinkles, we’re talking sock-puppets. The stage, the “puppet stage” looks like Uncle Ralph built it for you in his garage one afternoon weekend; and the show! It involves an “Intrepid detective” in a retelling of “Rumpelstiltskin”. Need I say more?
Wait! Actually I do need to say more. I attended this, along with my lovely wife, Marlene. It was an 11:30 a.m. performance, and other than Marlene and I, there were only two other guys in the audience, and they seem to know Don Kruszka. Don Kruszka is “The Omnipresent Puppet Theater”.
Don put on a puppet show. He had me sitting there and watching, but most of all he had me thinking. Thinking of the first puppet show I ever saw. Actually it was a lot like Don’s. I remembered laughing. I’m sorry to say I wasn’t laughing at this one. But I was thinking. I was reminded of how that first puppet show amazed me, and how that amazement led to a collection of my own puppets, which in turn lead to my first performance before an audience, which then splintered off into so many roads taken; a love of theater, a short career as a professional puppeteer, an even shorter career at the mouse factory, a slightly longer one at Universal, and a lifelong respect and admiration for the type of sweet magic and gentle imagination people like Don bring into this world.
I wasn’t laughing. But that was my fault, not the show’s. Marlene on the other hand, has the open soul of a child. It’s one of the things I love about her. Marlene laughed her head off.
“Gumshoe McMonocle and the Strange Case of Rumpelsomething” is a funny, quirky glob of fun for the whole family. It is also a test to determine if you’re able to step back to a time when your worries were small, your imagination huge, and capable of drawing your greatest pleasure from the simplest source. I failed.
Go get tested. Take along kids, lots and lots of kids. But they’re really gonna mess with the grading curve.