Her name has several spellings; the original poem gives her name as Rumpelteazer whilst the 1998 movie credits give it as Rumpleteazer.
|“||Mischievous, Rambunctious, Ne'er-do-well||”|
She is shown as a young, high-energy, mischievous character. Many productions show her as a teenager or older kitten. Rumpleteazer sometimes joins the other kittens as they swoon over Rum Tum Tugger. She is rarely shown doing this in the film, but often in smaller productions she will take Etcetera's hysterical squealing role if there isn't an Etcetera in the production. It is suggested in the song lyrics that she lives with a reasonably wealthy family. Even though she gets into trouble no one (cats or humans) seem to hold a grudge against her.
|“||Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer. Male-female duo. Strong dancers with acrobatic ability and excellent voices. High baritone for Mungojerrie and high belt for Rumpleteazer. Lots of personality, young, full of energy, impudent and cheeky.||”|
Rumpleteazer can be considered one of the main characters in the show; she shares a song with Mungojerrie (aptly named "Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer") as well as having a role in "The Aweful Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles" in the film. Rumpleteazer, along with Mungojerrie, are portrayed has having just made the transition from kittenhood to teenagehood, seeing how childish they can both be.
According to film actor Jo Gibb:
"Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer are the two naughtiest cats...We're always doing what we shouldn't, being where she shouldn't be, getting up to mischief, and creating a hassle for everyone else. But Rumpleteazer is lovable at the same time as being naughty and cheeky. She's always getting a clip around the ear from the older cats, but they like her."
The role of Rumpleteazer was originated in London by child star Bonnie Langford. In the initial Broadway transfer of the show, the role of Rumpleteazer was cut. Instead, the song "Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer" was narrated by Mistoffelees and performed by Etcetera and Coricopat, dressed as "trash puppets", as entertainment for Bustopher Jones.
This was revised in 1988 to the more normal running order of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer being characters in their own right. The role that had been Etcetera became Rumpleteazer permanently.
Rumpleteazer is a striped tabby cat. Her costume generally features orange, yellow and black stripes on a white base. However in productions based on the Broadway version, she is a much paler cat, primarily white with light orange and grey stripes, due to her evolving from Etcetera.
Her featured song costume consists of stockings attached to a leotard in bright calico colours and a string of stolen Woolworth pearls worn around her neck. She sometimes wears a diamond collar or a belt.
In the original London production, Bonnie Langford wore her trademark bright ginger hair in high buns to suggest cat ears, as did several other female characters. Gradually this was replaced by wigs, but some productions held on to the bun styled ears rather than a standard "Cats" wig.
- In the original poem of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, Rumpleteazer was possibly intended to be a Tom cat.
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