Phil’s son, Jackson, plays Mammoroth and the Gründle – the giant, grotesque, green and yellow, multi-armed, cave-dwelling monster – who guards the highly coveted musical weapon – the Gründlehämmer – using the torsos and limbs of its dismembered victims as instruments of musical power and strength. Jackson gives a sterling performance as Mammoroth, but his portrayal of the Great Gründle is outrageously magnificent!
Jacksom as Mammoroth
Jackson as the Gründle
The plot you may recognize. It is a familiar one: the kingdom of Brotopia, is forced into years of darkness and despair by a sinister ruler (Lothario) who murders the noble king.
Brandon Arinoldo as Lorthario
The infant heir to the throne, Benedon, (played by Christopher Krysztofiak) is miraculously rescued from his dead mother’s womb and raised by a family in a distant agrarian hamlet called Coxally Glen (those from Baltimore will readily understand the significance). Observing the child as he grows up, we watch as he is mentored by Gunnora (played brilliantly by Vanessa Eskridge) who imparts the necessary knowledge and skill to become the man he needs to be in order to slay the Gründle to obtain the Gründlehämmer, so that, he may successfully challenge the evil Lorthario to become the good and noble king he is destined to be. Though the plot may be hackneyed (the confrontation and destruction of an evil antagonist), the spectacular and dramatic production is not.
Vanessa Eskridge as Gunnora
The Death of Gunnora in the arms of Benedon
Gründlehämmer functions often at hysterical and hilarious extremes. Everyone in Brotopia has a stringed instrument of some sort or another that represents their trade or place in society . . . from shovel and pitchfork-headed guitars for farmers to various skull and axe laden stringed instruments for the villains. The storyline is not only epic and larger-than-life with multi-sub-plots, the sets and costumes are completely over-the-top . . . as is the complexity of the music and the extremely large cast and vocal and dance routines.
Gründle with some cast members
However, the real appeal of Gründlehämmer lies not in the excessive extremes of the imaginative and creative production, but in the viewer’s bond with the characters. Gründlehämmer excels at almost every level. It is an extraordinary social and theatrical event and experience . . . one I will never forget!
Jackson and Phil