REVIEW: "The Blue Man Group" – Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

This "Blue Man Group" Blue Me Away!

The "Blue Man Group," a tour which originally debuted in Chicago’s windy city in the 1990s, continues to draw theater-goers around the country with its high energy score, comedic antics and audience immersion. Drumming, light effects, and non-stop color are key ingredients in this untraditional, unorthodox show, which winds up its six-day run tonight with the final 6:30pm performance at Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa.

The three unnamed bald blue bros walked on stage with oversized black lab coats, blank stares and heads that look like they’ve been dipped in a polymer plastic coating, and it was non-stop craziness for 90 minutes. The blues are uniquely synchronized and have an exact sense of timing. They seem to be able to create music from whatever they can get their hands on, using actual instruments, or ones that look as if it was something Rube Goldberg concocted in his back yard.

Each song (if that’s what you’d call them) grabbing miscellaneous fodder from the audience, like rattling candy boxes or combs, end up sounding like an electronic “boom bap” onomatopoeia that puts hip-hop DJ’s to shame – loud, bass-heavy, and in-your-face, but there’s no doubt that you will be bobbing your head or tapping your foot the whole time.

All of the silly things that have long endeared BMG to audiences of all ages remain: the expressive and exaggerated use of paint, the brightly colored splash drumming, the dead-pan humor. Among the three members of the cast (in which there are really four) are Meridian, Mike Brown, Steven Wendt and Adam Zuick.

Part percussive rock concert, part performance art, and part video satire, this fascinating blend of mime and sci-fi, complete with rhythmic pounding, vaudeville and futurism, was created by Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink in 1988. Their impromptu “happening” show involved the burning of a Rambo doll along with a piece of the Berlin Wall, showing enough inspired irreverence to impress MTV’s Kurt Loder. Developing and fine-tuning the percussive/performance art show, it eventually opened in Chicago at The Briar Street Theatre in 1997. Currently, with almost 30 years in Chicago alone, “Blue Man Group” is perhaps the longest-running gimmick in theater entertainment—the caveat being: it’s actually entertaining.

The Blue Man takes the objects and things we see every day and turns them into a science experiment. The Blue Man character is very simple in his mindset, but he’s a trickster and very playful. And the audio visual segments in the show becomes a psychedelic spectacle! Black lights! Bright colors! Rebel music! The ambiance is pure party from a personal digital greeting at the beginning to a paper-streamer-confetti farewell.

Basically, in a mish-mash of energetic hi-jinx, the blue men, who are amazingly in-sync with razor sharp timing, don’t quite contain themselves to the stage. They come down frequently and roam through the seats, stepping over audience chairs, and inviting guests to participate in many of their bizarro schticks.

It continues to doubly confound and delight non-blue audiences. The secret of their blue-ish wisdom? Mostly it comes from the indigo threes