REVIEW: Why three blue men have universal appeal

Three hairless men with blue heads who don’t speak the entire time they’re on stage… On paper it doesn’t exactly sound like the ingredients for a hit show.

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But nearly 30 years after a brainwave in New York was realised as a unique live performance, the Blue Man Group (BMG) concept continues to travel the world and sell out venues.

And they demonstrated why once again during their debut UAE show at Dubai Opera.

You only had to cast an eye around the auditorium on the opening night to appreciate why BMG has remained so appealing for so long.

Sure, there was the odd Blue Man obsessive there, but this crowd was notable for its variety – from young children to more mature folk, and a demographic that featured nationalities from Emirati to Filipino.

Such is the universal reach of this phenomenon.

Visiting Dubai, before a handful of dates in Abu Dhabi from 18th to 22nd April, the childlike curiosity exhibited by the wide-eyed trio on stage was regularly emulated by some in the audience.

And that’s partly because there really is nothing else quite like this scenario.

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For those who have never witnessed this colourful musical phenomenon before, a BMG show is audiovisual alchemy, a dynamic smorgasbord that mixes live concert with comedy and performance art with light shows – all whipped into a spectacle by baffled stances and tons of energy.

Audience members in seat rows closest to the stage donned rain macs before the lights went down – and within minutes of the show beginning it became apparent why.

A few of the segments feature paint, including drums loaded with splashing colour, and almost slapstick on other occasions where mess is part of the routine.

Looks of bewilderment were often exchanged between the men in blue latex – and frequently fired back at them from the audience.

Strange instruments were bashed, giant mobile phone displays and cereal boxes led to curious activities and a couple of ‘late arrivals’ to the venue were placed in the spotlight and unwittingly became part of the proceedings as a video camera projected them onto a stage screen.

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The playful act had two other fans brought onto the stage to be part of the show, one enduring a going over with blue paint as well to create a personalized body canvas for his wall.

The stagecraft of this enduring show has been updated with state-of-the-art visuals and effects and at one point there was the sense that we had become part of a surreal rave as giant colour-changing balls found their way into the audience as light and sound filled the venue.

This unique brand of euphoria is culture crossing, smile inducing and contagious – and it continues tonight.

The Blue Man Group plays at du Forum, Yas Island from 18th to 22nd April. Show times vary. Tickets start at AED 195. To find out more, click here

WORDS David Dunn

 

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