Highly Recommended ***** It has been many (very many) years since I have been back to The Briar Street Theatre for the long running “Blue Man Group”. The show is still very universal in that it appeals to people fo all ages and ethnicities. Today, in order to give you, my readers the true perspective for your family, my grand children (well, two of them), Adam (age 10) and Sarah( age 7) were in attendance. They understood that this was not a typical play, but rather a “performance art” production. Ninety minutes (with no intermission) of pure fun and entertainment, with no actual lines of dialogue. While there are places where an announcer is used and we have over the years watched the evolution of a unique form of communication (they have added some HUGE “smart phones” to the program) we are treated to some dynamic music and sounds that come from the three musicians above the stage area and the music generated by the three lost individuals, the men who are Blue, and seeking to find themselves and who they are.
It is a show that is filled with music, comedy, technology and in short, FUN! Created and directed by Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink, back when we ended the 1990’s and entered the millennium. While the show has changed performers many times and updated many of the segments, it is still a rousing 90 minutes that will keep your interest and focus, even if you are a tot (or if you are in your eighties). Adam , knowing we were attending this show today, went online and found U-Tube videos to watch and learn more about what his Saturday afternoon was to be. While he knew parts of the show, he found himself glued to these three strange beings, these “lost souls” searching for their identities and the first words out of his mouth at the close of the show, were AWESOME! Totally awesome!
Sarah was quite intense for the full 90 minutes, almost never blinking, for fear that a blink would mean that she missed something, and she did not want to miss one second of the 90 minutes of pure magic. Sarah is my little actress, so she understands the work that these men have to do to bring a show like this to the stage, not just once a day, but on many days, twice! She also liked the word awesome, but I think the way she said it was AWSUM! FYI- there are in reality SIX Blue Men, with three onstage at each performance and a rotation that allows for mix and match so that each of these very able and talented men can be at full strength to take on the challenges that are presented in this performance.
They paint, do acrobatics, dance, drum, and eat Twinkies (glad to see that the Twinkie is back in business. Wonder what they did during the months where Hostess was gone? The sequence with the audience member and the Blue Men eating their desert specialty is very funny, as is the audience member using his body to paint a full body portrait. The marshmallow sequence is an amazing feat. Imagine tossing marshmallows rapidly into the air and these fluffy white specialties being caught in air by another Blue Man without every dropping one. Not just one or two but a full dozen and then 10 seconds later, another 15 marshmallows- all real and none swallowed! Amazing! And as the kids would say- “awesome!”.
The Blue Men play drums of color splashing paint up into the magical lights( Matthew McCarthy), which is why the people in the first five rows are asked to don plastic parkas with hoods so that they will not ruin their clothes. The set (David Gallo and Lauren Helpern) is very much the way it was when this show first took over this intimate theater space. The Blue Men are: Scott Bishop, Wade Elkins, Tom Galassi, Gareth Hinsley, Eric Gebow and Callum Grant. Three perform at every performance. The three musicians are also handled in this fashion with 9 musicians on staff and only three onstage at any given performance. The heavy rock music is a very powerful component in this popular tourist treat that is playing all over the world. I must tell you that watching it alongside Adam and Sarah was a unique and wonderful experience for a grandfather. Being able to talk about the highs and lows, the giant balls that we bounced (or tried to bounce), the paper that was streaming from the pipes above, the closeness of the Blue Men as they came out to the audience to find members to take part in the festivities- all made for a wonderful Saturday afternoon and a memory that we can share forever. There are not many experiences such as this where a grand parent can feel that they are as one with their grand kids. As these three “lost souls” begin their trip down discovery lane, we the audience do likewise. A real treat. This is one for the books!
|Fridays:||7:00pm & 10:00pm|
|Saturdays:||2:00pm & 7:00pm & 10:00pm|
|Sundays:||4:00pm & 7:00pm|
Show Type: Performance Art
Running Time: 1hr 30mins
To make sure of times and to order your memories, visit www.blueman.com/chicago or call773-348-4000
To see what others are saying and have said in the past, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Blue Man Group”