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 The Theatreguide.London Review


Blue Man Group
New London Theatre Winter 2005 - Summer 2007

More than twenty years ago a trio of New York city mimes shaved their heads, painted themselves blue, and took up residence in a small Off Broadway theatre where, several generations of performers on, the Blue Man Group is still running. There are clone companies all over North America but it's taken this long for them to reach London.

And there's no reason why this delightful and always surprising show shouldn't settle in for a nice long run here.

The Blue Men (three each night, out of a pool of six) are clowns, with a blend of traditional and post-modern (i.e., being ironic about what they're doing as they do it) clowning.

They make music, do tricks, climb about the audience, eat strange things in strange ways, and generally create theatrical magic.

They drum on metal barrels and make colours fly out of them. They drum on plumbing pipes, producing melody by adding or subtracting segments. They toss marshmallows and paint balls halfway across the stage, catch them in their mouths, and then create art with them.

They wander through the theatre, finding ways to be funny offstage. They bring audience members onstage and manage to make them as inventive and funny as they are. A hard-rocking backing band and some live and taped video projections add to the enjoyment.

It doesn't all work, and even at just over ninety minutes, you may sense the energy and your attention flagging. A sequence in which the video screen teaches them how to move like rock stars goes nowhere, and one on the history of animation takes too long to pay off (though it's magical when it does). They may go out into the audience one too many times, and rely a bit too much on moving electrical signs for their gags.

It's an ideal family show, and kids will particularly enjoy the general silliness, and it may take the place of Cats as the show of choice for non-English-speaking tour groups.

Shakespeare it isn't, but how many Shakespearean tragedies end with a beautiful aerial ballet of plastic piping and an audience covered in acres of paper towels?

Gerald Berkowitz

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Review - Blue Man Group - New London 2005