They've Still Got It

Blue Man Group overcomes any missteps with unforgettable finale at Winspear

Blue Man Group overcomes any missteps with unforgettable finale

Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group uses giant drums and PVC pipes to create unique percussion arrangements. Photo by Paul Kolnik
Blue Man Group Society for the Performing Arts Houston May 2013
Using multihued paint in variety of fun ways is one of the signature elements of Blue Man Group. Photo by © Paul Kolnik
Blue Man Group
The epic finale makes up for any missteps the show makes along the way. Photo by Paul Kolnik
Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group Society for the Performing Arts Houston May 2013
Blue Man Group

There’s nothing like seeing Blue Man Group live for the first time. Three men — wearing blue makeup and all-black outfits — put on a show that combines comedy, experimental rock music, performance art and audience participation to such extremes that boredom is inconceivable.

The comedy and audience participation elements start before you see even one blue man. Displays on both sides of the stage give supposedly simple requests about not using cell phones and such until you pay closer attention. Sly jokes stream by, culminating in the audience’s vocally responding to silly instructions.

By essentially forcing the audience to participate right from the start, the group demonstrates the power they have, and they continue to wield it over the next two hours. Their signature bits, such as drumming on PVC pipe contraptions and using multihued paint in a variety of ways, are viscerally entertaining.

If you haven’t caught the show since the advent of the iPhone/iPad, know they have updated it a bit; they seemingly enter a television to make it appear as if they’re using apps on giant iPads to create the same effect. They mine extra laughs from the segment merely out of the familiarity of modern technology.

The audience participation segments during the show are hit-and-miss. They all elicit some laughs, even though they are obviously set up ahead of time. But one could use some tweaking: When a person is brought up onstage to partake in a Twinkie dinner with the performers, because of some awkward timing and fake vomit, it feels like a bad SNL sketch that goes on way too long.

But Blue Man Group makes up for any missteps with a killer finale that involves dancing, giant balls, streamers and more. If you’re not on your feet with a huge smile on your face during the climactic sequence, you may not know how to have fun.

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Blue Man Group performs at Winspear Opera House through January 4.