I’ll just go ahead and get this out of the way: Thursday night’s performance by the Blue Man Group blew my mind.
Describing the live art performance by the Blue Man Group isn’t really possible without sounding somewhat unbelievable. Each scene of the performance is completely different in presentation while building on the previous ideas and images in the show. What I can say is that music, art, choreography and some serious imagination is always on display at a Blue Man Group concert. The rest, for a lack of better words, you must see to believe.
The reason I call it a ‘concert’ as opposed to a show is clear within a few minutes of the lights dimming. Sections of the event are performed with a backing band that is truly integral to the experience. The talented producers of the Blue Man Group have been directly involved with the creation of the Group, and the streamlined performance doesn’t slow down until the show finally ends. Layered rock and dance tracks paired with the act, and small musical accompaniments used to enhance the scene are heard throughout. The timing of these small but significant sounds to the Blue Man stage act is a testament to the creativity and talent of the entire crew.
Audience participation is also crucial to the energy and overall experience of the show. The majority of front-and-center patrons on Thursday were wearing Gallagher-esque ponchos to avoid flying paint, water, and marshmallows, but were not prepared fully for all the food groups. Random individuals at each show are selected from the crowd and, judging from their (and the crowd’s) reaction, were legitimately audience members. Thanks to the kind folks at DPAC, my section was close enough to see subtle jokes and Blue-faced expressions but perfectly far enough to keep my clothes clean.
The Blue Man Group is an all-ages show. Therein lies the beauty of a Blue Man performance: what is funny for a child also happens to be great for adults. Many jokes are embedded in visually stimulating graphics, and those that aren’t 100-percent clean manage to be hidden in plain view. For parents of younger children, Blue Man Group hits the ‘PG’ nail right on the head. The performance is a multimedia display of the truest form — it brings together intense video graphics, pin-point choreography, inspired music and a fun-filled storyline in one action-packed hour and a half.
Thursday’s routine included quite a few new additions and, as usual, some changes to classic Blue Man Group scenes. I had seen the Group a few years back in a different city and can only remember a few similarities between the two performances. Durham Performing Arts Center is also an exceptional venue, and the modern touches to a classically-inspired building only enhanced the experience. I would suggest sitting as close as possible for maximum enjoyment, and as anyone who has seen the Blue Man Group would say, do not arrive late! (They will make sure you hear about it!)