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Smorgasbord Show Review: Blue Man Group Puts on Wacky Original Shows

Audience is Encouraged to Participate, But Beware of Messy Surprises

By Christina Kang

Blue Man Group

Charles Playhouse, Boston

Student Rush Tickets $25

Through May 2006

For years I’ve heard about Blue Man Group and its performances around the United States. Three blue (surprise), bald men dressed in black on stage and doing stuff — it didn’t seem worth the ticket price. Then a good friend came back from the show just beaming, so I had to check it out! I wasn’t disappointed.

I was greeted with rock music and the sight of pipes strewn across the ceiling. Then, I noticed that the people in the front were wearing ponchos. Ponchos at a show? That can only mean surprises and messes, a most excellent combination when it comes to entertainment! The energy in the theater was boundless, and there was excitement on faces of all ages.

Paint, music, and pipes were combined together in creative ways: paint flew to the beat of the music, into the blue men’s mouths, onto their faces. Pipes full of paint served as a drumset, and the music of the group was supplemented by a live rock band hidden behind a scrim that occasionally revealed their glow-in the dark, bony appearance.

Indeed, the show was full of surprises, one after another. One of my favorites was the pair of electronic scrolling marquees flanking the stage. They entertained the audience with general information before the show, and later on became directives, captivating everyone with far-fetched commands.

The interactive nature continued as some members of the audience were invited onstage. One woman was escorted to a table with a vase of flowers and nice silverware, and then treated to a Twinkie and splashed by something unidentifiable that came from equipment rigged to the blue men’s stomachs. After scarfing down most of that unidentifiable stuff, the blue men wrapped up the leftovers in a Chinese take-out container for her to take and enjoy later. Another audience member became a tool in the creation of a work of art, but worry not; he was protected with a blindfold and helmet.

Whether you enjoy music, comedy, audience participatory shows, violence (with safety precautions, of course), dancing, or just a darn good performance, the Blue Man Group is the way to go. After a surprise ending that left me only able to say, “wow, that was so good,” I left the theater still smiling.

The Blue Man Group first opened in New York City (starting with street performances), winning the hearts of its audience. It then opened in Boston in 1995, and now can also be seen in Chicago, Las Vegas, and even Berlin. Blue Man Group has released two recordings of their music (one of which got a Grammy nod), toured the United States, and been featured on TV with “The Jury” and “Arrested Development.”

With continuous changes and variability between different productions of the show, Blue Man Group is entertaining to watch again and again.