Blue man group performance



Keywords: blue man group performance
Description: Blue Man Group's "Tubes" was such a wildly inventive, anything-goes performance art piece that it seemed almost dangerous in its cramped Astor Place space (where it's still playing) 20 years ago. [...] an international franchise, with sit-down shows in Las Vegas, Tokyo and elsewhere, the "Blue" on its first national theatrical tour (as opposed to its rock concert tours) no longer seems as fresh and innovative as it did before so many other nonlinear percussion-theater franchises ("Stomp" et al.) took to the road. Yes, that's an odd thing to say about a piece where an audience volunteer may be led backstage and seen on closed-circuit TV being slathered with paint, hung by the feet and slammed into a canvas. Written and directed by its original performers - Blue Men Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink - and co-directed by Marcus Miller (the original co-director was Marlene Swartz), "Blue" is a mashup of wild and crazy percussion (on PVC plumbing pipe marimbas, among other things), bits of science, hyperactive electronic animation and bad-food and art-student jokes. In their cobalt-blue makeup and skullcaps they could be dead ringers for the originals as they perform their impressive feats of polyrhythmic percussion, mouth sculpture and splatter painting with otherworldly deadpan stares.

Blue Man Group's "Tubes" was such a wildly inventive, anything-goes performance art piece that it seemed almost dangerous in its cramped Astor Place space (where it's still playing) 20 years ago. Long since retitled "Blue Man Group," the show that opened Wednesday at Golden Gate Theatre, in SHN's 2010-11 season, is still fairly entertaining but seems tame by comparison.

Though some elements have changed, it's still very much the same show. But that's part of its problem. Now an international franchise, with sit-down shows in Las Vegas, Tokyo and elsewhere, the "Blue" on its first national theatrical tour (as opposed to its rock concert tours) no longer seems as fresh and innovative as it did before so many other nonlinear percussion-theater franchises ("Stomp" et al.) took to the road. It's also a bit too well behaved.

Yes, that's an odd thing to say about a piece where an audience volunteer may be led backstage and seen on closed-circuit TV being slathered with paint, hung by the feet and slammed into a canvas. But it's still true.

Written and directed by its original performers - Blue Men Matt Goldman. Phil Stanton and Chris Wink - and co-directed by Marcus Miller (the original co-director was Marlene Swartz ), "Blue" is a mashup of wild and crazy percussion (on PVC plumbing pipe marimbas, among other things), bits of science, hyperactive electronic animation and bad-food and art-student jokes. It's fast, almost frenetic, and often quite funny (what happens to Andrew Wyeth 's "Christina's World" still cracks me up).

It's also no longer performed by its creators. Seven Blue Men alternate in the three onstage roles (Kalen Allmandinger. Josh Elrod and San Francisco's own Peter Musante on opening night), supported by a four-piece band. But that makes little difference. In their cobalt-blue makeup and skullcaps they could be dead ringers for the originals as they perform their impressive feats of polyrhythmic percussion, mouth sculpture and splatter painting with otherworldly deadpan stares.

But even with the Blue Men invading the first few rows for volunteers (less often than before), the experience seems remote compared with the immediacy of sitting atop and amid the vibrating tubes that snake throughout Astor Place. The scientific elements seem a bit dumbed down and, as frenzied as Joel Moritz 's lights can be, the whole event seems more tightly, even rigidly structured. The music no longer sounds so adventurous.

It also seems too packaged. It's one thing to be bossed around in a tiny, anarchic space. Sitting in a large theater being instructed by signs and voiceovers when and what to yell and when to get up and shake your booty is a bit too much like being held down and tickled.






Photogallery Blue man group performance:


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