Monday, 17 August 2009

Theatre Review: Blue Man Group, at the Charles Playhouse (Boston)

The key to enjoying the Blue Man Group show is to know what to expect. This is not high-brow theatre. The combination of music, comedy, and some basic stunts is aimed squarely at a common denominator that is, if not quite low, looking squarely downwards.

Having said that, the 90 minute show at the suitably grungy Charles Playhouse in Boston is entertaining, and it is admirable how the Blue Man Group sustain a high energy show without saying a word.

The Blue Man Group of creative artists came to widespread prominence when they appeared in advertisements for Intel. They are distinctive for their all-blue head paint, all-black clothing and non-verbal communication.

Instead of talking, they compile a series of unrelated sketches: they bang away at drums (or miscellaneous drum-like instruments); bash away at an endless variety if plastic pipes; have some good fun with paint; some not-so-clever fun with food; creatively use posters and changeable message signs to converse with the audience; and drag audience members to participate in a couple of sketches (one works and the other falls flat).

An energetic and funky on-stage band provides almost continuous accompaniment as the show unfolds.

The show ends with a mindless and maniacal strobe-fuelled frenzy involving massive paper rolls that engulf the theatre. We are assured that the paper is recycled.

It's all good fun, and with suitably low expectations, the show delivers a satisfying diversion. The Blue Man Group shouldn't be the first item on the list of things to do in Boston, but the show does deserve to be on the list.

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