Beating the January blues at The Blue Man Group World Tour!
On a rather tumultuous Tuesday evening with the mighty Storm Eleanor brewing, myself and the lovely Visit Birmingham team welcomed in the New Year together by attending The Blue Man Group World Tour at The ICC Birmingham, a global smash hit and all round colour extravaganza, touring exclusively in Birmingham as their chosen UK city.
I’d always been intrigued by the 3 bald and convincingly blue (not even a speck of flesh seems to show through their smurf-esque appearance) men and so I was delighted to have the chance to see just what the Blue Man Group shows are all about.
Their phenomenon has been around for around 25 years, and the assumptions that the show consists solely of them whacking PVC piping material and having a splish-splash with some paint and drums is immediately quashed when you witness the true showmanship that takes place.
A nod to their comedic intentions, the show began with the audience reading hilariously bizarre ticker tape greetings out loud from a rolling digital screen. We greeted Michelle who had a headache in the audience, and lulled her pain together by reading out the psychological remedies the group had come up with (if you’re interested, this went along the lines of ‘Imagine your headache is a cow, watch your cow headache grazing gently on a field… Kill the cow’) and under strict instruction, we wished Ken a Happy Birthday through spoken word and NOT singing.
A show that played to our senses, BMG made sure audience members were well equipped in the first 3 rows of the auditorium, arming them with plastic ponchos to wear before they were inadvertently splattered with paint, or perhaps just Twinkie cream (an American sponge cake filled with cream filling).
The frenzied paint drumming is the most iconic aspect to their show, it’s what they’re recognised for and was spectacular to watch, but it was the showmanship and variety of acts they performed that left the audience so captivated. You could also argue that their keen use of the buzzword ‘Interaction’ and using audience members helped this (we remained on high alert) as the roaming blue heads climbed over the seats and audience’s heads on the hunt for their next volunteer. Their proximity to the audience shunned any idea of a fourth wall, and their intense gaze left you wishing you’d never made eye contact. It was also at this point I realised they had no ears……………………… interesting.
Note the exact moment my colleague made eye contact, snapped below:
With the support of a band on two upper-stage platforms, multimedia screens where they projected scientific data about modern plumbing, an explanation of how the retina in the eye performs and explored an issue that underpins modern day society's obsession with mobile devices, the 90 minute production was nothing less than an eclectic mix of high-tech visuals, art, music, comedy and resounding theatre.
The Blue Man Group have clear expertise in throwing an energetic and somewhat raucous party, so it was only right, after teaching the audience rock concert movements such as ‘fist pump’, ‘raising the roof’, ‘waving your hands like you just don’t care’ and more prominently, the ‘leg behind your head and stretch up’, to end the spectacular with giant, illuminated balls bouncing through the audience and UV streamers raining down across the auditorium (shout out to the ICC cleaners, we commend you and your unwavering perseverance.)
With a snap back to reality, the voice over requested ‘Can we have our balls back now please?’, and insisted ‘Please stop touching our balls’.
Blue Man Group, we are forever indebted in your favour, for ridding us of January Blues and giving us your blue bald heads instead.
The Blue Man Group tour finishes in Birmingham on January 6th, so don’t be the one to miss out! For more info and to get your tickets for the last few evenings of this fabulous production, see here.
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