Blue Man Group’s relaunch isn’t a total reinvention—and that’s not a bad thing
Wed, Nov 21, 2012 (midnight)
Photo: Christopher DeVargas
- Blue Man Group
- Nightly, times vary, $59-$127
- Monte Carlo, 800-258-3636
The “new” Blue Man Group at Monte Carlo is great, but it’s not really “new.” Maybe 25-30 percent differs from the previous version.
Before the show begins, two giant floating eyeballs swim through the theater, which, through spotlight effects, has been transformed into a giant aquarium. A stagehand unspectacularly corrals the eyeballs, and then the Blue Men take the stage.
Strobes, drums, pipes, marshmallows—these bits come straight from the Venetian show, straight from the Luxor show, straight from the New York show. But if you haven’t seen them—haven’t seen how PVC pipes can sound hipper than vibes, haven’t seen how a man can catch 12 marshmallows in his mouth—it’s worth the price of admission.
The first new bit: Three giant iPhone knockoffs descend, and the Blue Men flip through iBook knockoffs. The books contain links to singing alpaca videos and websites like cat-botz.com, which the Men click on. So we see an alpaca sing. We see a cat driving a Roomba knockoff.
The Men walk into and out of the giant iPhone screens—a neat effect done poorly. The timing is off; the Blue Men’s onstage bodies don’t quite line up with the pre-taped videos. And I can see the Blue Men behind the screens when I’m not supposed to. (To see this trick done right, check out Siro-A’s TEDx Tokyo performance.)
The new character, a silver fembot with white dreadlocks, is cute. But she doesn’t do anything. She walks out, gets berated by the randomly anti-humanoid narrator and leaves. She merely serves as a segue into the show’s coolest new bit: The Men perform a pipe-drum number antagonized/aided by two giant assembly line robots, who develop consciousness before our very eyes. Ultimately, the bots join together with the Men in song.
The Men call up an audience volunteer for the classic Twinkie dinner bit, and we’re left to wonder what Monte Carlo will do with Hostess’ future up in the air.
Apart from the moment where the narrator asks us to get on our feet and dance—and absolutely nobody in the audience does (awkward)—the final number is pure fun. The toilet paper combines with mini-toilet paper, bouncing light-up balls, a dancing Burning Man-like effigy and smoke rings. The point? The final number, like the show as a whole, doesn’t have a message; it just hits you over the head with brilliance, stupidity and awe.