The Blue Man Group has been entertaining audiences since 1987 and has regular homes in New York, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas and other cities around the world. Thanks to a new tour, DC audiences have the chance to see this uniquely gifted theatrical trio of blue-faced mimes over the course of the this week at the National Theater.
If opening night is any indication, the Blue Man Group is one of the most popular visitors to this area in quite some time and the hoards of laughs and applause they received was well deserved.
I am no stranger to the magic of the Blue Man Group, having seen them perform in New York 20 years ago and Las Vegas just last year, but you can tell that many in the crowd were caught completely off guard as to what was to come. The expressions of disbelief and uproarious laughter were rampant and the good vibe was truly infectious.
The show begins with one Blue Man tossing marshmallows into the mouths of two other Blue Men who are standing about 12 feet away from him on either side. One uses the colorful marshmallows to make art, while the other isn’t quick enough to get them out of his mouth and must catch in excess of 25 in his mouth at one time. I was in awe that the trick could be accomplished so easily, with not one hitting the floor.
That Blue Man then releases his “mound” from his mouth to create a sculpture and put it on a table with a sign reading, “$5,000.” Both the painting and the abstract art were “given” to audience members in somewhat memorable fashion.
What’s truly special about the Blue Man Group is that they combine comedy, technology and music to deliver original and thought-provoking vignettes. The Blue Men never speak, seem permanently poker-faced and approach the world with childlike curiosity.
In the course of the evening, they touched on everything from modern plumbing to digital communications to the science behind sight. They mocked information overload in a funny bit featuring enormous iPhones. They poked fun at consumerism and even had a few laughs with junk-food culture, thanks to an audience member who was invited to share a Twinkie with them on stage.
In that scene, the three Blue Men and the woman chosen sat at a table, each with the wrapped yellow cake in front of them. Somehow, it managed to turn into something romantic, with one of the Blue Men (even without facial expressions) turning on the charm. Things eventually go awry thanks to the group’s notorious food- and liquid-squirting costumes (Yes, there’s a reason the first few rows of audience members are offered plastic protection) and hilarity ensues.
THE BLUE MAN GROUP
Closes May 11, 2014
1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
1 hour, 30 minutes, no intermission
Thursday thru Sunday
Kids seemed to enjoy the multi-media presentation of the 50-or-so different ways to refer to one’s derriere, which included such hilarious gems as “the jiggle twins,” “your badonk-a-donk” and “Jar Jar Binks.” All audience members were then invited to shake their “booty” along to the pulsating rhythms of the “Shake Your Butt” song as a video display of hand movements at rock concerts appears on the screen.
The Blue Man Group’s Rock Concert Instruction Manual continues with the release of giant rubber balls launched into the air and pushed about amidst blasts of confetti streamers and strips of paper blown off large rolls by fans. It’s a great way to end the show with everyone on their feet laughing and dancing along.
Be sure to check out the ticker on the side of the stage before the show begins, as it offers some witty jokes and gets things started off with a smile. At a little over 90 minutes long, the show is a great length for children of all ages and there’s definitely enough visual stimulation and audience participation to keep anyone happy.
Follow the tour: The Blue Man Group