There’s a genre of entertainment – and that is the right word – so far little touched upon within these walls. Elton’s done it, Celine, Britney – and magicians. It helped fund those sandwiches and guns for Elvis, and who knows maybe Laibach will do one as an ironic art project one day. I’m referring of course to the ‘Vegas residency’. Which is shorthand for a style of universally-appealing ‘show’ which can be lengthened until the cows come home and franchised all over the world. I’ve not been to Vegas, and the second-mortgage prices required for Cirque de Soleil have likewise left their charms untested round here.
But who’s this at the Birmingham ICC over Christmas? It’s globe-franchising Vegas-residing conference-atttendee-satisfying coloured people The Blue Man Group. Tickets while not cheap, were realistic, and so yesterday evening family Mole attended.
The BMG appreantly started life as an edgy Manhattan street theatre happening thing in the late eighties, but thirty years down the line they, in the usual jargon, couldn’t be more middle of the road if they had two white lines painted down their blue foreheads
After some scroll and roll fun with audience names the show proper starts with one of their signature items: 3 blue men bashing away at some large floor drums, into which colour is poured so that red yellow and blue pigment splashes up very pleasingly when said drums are bashed. There are sideways glances and lots and lots of eye rolling and mugging. As the blue men themselves are silent, this is their chief means of communication. Think of them less as an art project and much more as clowns for grown-ups.
The next ninety minutes unfold in a series of musical numbers interleaved by more sketch-based material. By far the highlight is their plastic-pipe based music: one in which they make the pipes behave like trombone, the other in which they play what can only be described as a plastic plumbing pipe version of the tubular bells.
The skits are on the whole for us less successful, one in which an audience member takes part in a dinner party goes on at least five minutes too long. One in which they eat cereal for a couple of minutes is frankly pretty thin.
Finally, there is some technology stuff. They have three giant iPads and get some gags out of the old real world me/virtual me in a box switches – done pretty slickly. Likewise a sequence about vision – complete with some biology around rods and cones – brings the music, technology and clowning together in a way you wish the whole show would do.
Backing them up are a tight four piece given some pretty undemanding instrumental rock to play, and some glow-in-the-dark costumes to wear. It’s all pretty enjoyable at the time and vanishes from your brain five minutes after leaving the arena (unless you get a Blue Man selfie to remember them by).
Couples, families but much more adult than a typical Christmas show.
It made me think..
Inventing a Vegas show is a ticket for life baby. £30 for a CD from the merch though? You are having a laugh. And yes they were in that annoying Intel ad a decade or so ago.