A performance of Blue Man Group, now playing at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, is a delightful sensory experience. It has striking visuals, thrumming music with an air of novelty, and physical comedy of all sorts. It is also stuffed to the gills with audience-interactive elements and frequently spills off the stage into the aisles and seats of the hall. If the idea of dozens of giant balloons bursting into the audience for you to bounce through the theater appeals to you, the show is not to be missed.
Blue Man Group doesn’t have a story or narrative per se, but it can loosely be understood as the adventures of three aliens (the titular blue men) exploring a world brimming with interactive science exhibits, percussion instruments, and devices like confetti cannons, paint sprayers, and enticingly glowing lights. There are also, of course, many audience members that they encounter and draft into taking part in the group’s antics. Voiceovers and animations invite the audience to participate in danceoffs and other short elements that keep people moving when they’re not laughing, and their infectuous call is hard to resist.
So what is this show? It’s one part circus, one part rock concert, and one part percussion festival, mixed with elements of a first-class science museum’s kids center and silent film comedy–if the science museum had a Cirque du Soleil-caliber art director and Charlie Chaplin was playing off Buster Keaton and Goofy. The sheer variety of elements in this performance is huge, the sum much more than its parts, and the production values incredibly high. For those who’ve caught the tour before or seen its resident productions in various US cities, the present tour is not only updated but also includes special new elements crafted just for it. Blue Man Group is hard to describe but very easy to enjoy–and a theatrical/entertainment experience that won’t soon be forgotten.
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