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by Summer Peters

Blue Man Group. A lively partially interactive show that has been around seemingly forever. Actually it was  created in 1987. During it's run, I experienced Blue Man Group with a group of friends a few years back.  This is the best way to see Blue Man, as it is partially interactive with the audience physically as well as emotionally. When I had heard that Blue Man had added "cool new stuff" and was "Now with more WOW" I had to see what the fuss was about. What is Blue Man 2011?

The New iPhone 5 ??

     Blue Man Group is not exactly a "show", it is an experience as I had mentioned before. The Blue Men are alien to our culture. As if they were dropped here to experience us, and we to experience them, partially through their eyes, and partially through ours. Blue Man has always been based on a sensory experience of music humor and culture. The new version is also based on the primitive and repetitive beats, as well as as a kind of psychedelic freak out of color. It draws you in and excites your senses.

     Blue Men are like children learning about us from a scratch point of view. Blue Men do not speak, as they do not know our language. They even learn about us, like we now learn about us. Electronically. They have the GiPad, a giant iPad like device that allows them to visually learn about our world, but also as children are so fond of doing, to touch and imitate and play. They learn like Blue Men do, and assimilate their culture with ours. Sometimes with ridiculously funny twists, such as eating Cap'n Crunch and making a back beat to dance to. I know when I eat it, it sounds that loud in my head!

     The Blue Men go out into the audience in search of a more personal learning and friendship building experience. And they draw you in with their observations. How funny and odd we seem to them. This can work if you get a good improv-like person from the audience, or it can go a little flat and long if they aren't a very good sport. But they demonstrate their Blue Man-ness at the end of the sketch comedy, which drags you right back into the Blue Man mentality and silliness.

     I liked the new additions of the dance and light show aspects. Although at that point it became less about the Blues learning and more about performing. There is still the messy drum beating, and if you are in the first 5 rows you are issued a rain poncho. They also create, um, let's just say "works of art" and give their creations to audience members and participants.

     Conversely there were elements that didn't work as well like the paper towel like streamers I became at once buried in and choked by. This is near the end and we were sitting near the front, so people began to be spurred on by the primal music of Blue Man and the child like atmosphere and tore into those tough sheets of paper, wadded them up, and began beaning those up front in the head with large hard wads they tossed around. It might have been fun for those in back, but not so fun for those in the front being pelted.

     But at the same time, who doesn't like playing with balloons or beach balls? Gigantic glowing orbs floating about an eager and outreaching crowd, playing like Blue Men, bopping and laughing.

     For the most part, we loved this Blue Man about as much as the original show. A little different than the original. Perhaps a little less slapsticky. But beware, you have to be in the mood to interact, or you won't have nearly as much fun, and might come away a little curmudeonly.

     Also as a side note, I am partially disabled, and found this show to be wheelchair accessible, and the ushers accommodating and helpful. There is no intermission during this show, so once you are parked in your seat, there is no need to get around until the end. At which point they brought my "chariot" back to me (as they had taken it out after I was seated) and I had little trouble wheeling right back out. The sidewalks and surrounding neighborhood, had mostly passable sidewalks with sloping curbs so walking and rolling a few blocks to our parking space wasn't too difficult.

     So gather your friends, and head out to the new Blue Man Group, even if you have seen it before. You will sort of know what to expect and enjoy the fresh changes.  If you haven't seen Blue Man, and are in the mood to become a kid again, if only for a couple of hours, Blue Man is funny and uplifting and you will leave a little more relaxed having left the adult world behind for a little while at least. And come home with a smile on your face. Something some of us haven't seen in a while.


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