One of the oddest forms of entertainment to ever come to a stage may just be the performance of three men dancing around while painted blue. The acclaimed Blue Man Group has gained overwhelming popularity since its formation in 1987, and with this popularity comes a high ticket price. Performing at Briar Street Theatre (3133 N. Halsted St.) until Nov. 30, Blue Man Group put on an entertaining performance — but not one worth $60 a ticket (or even $35 if you’re a student).
The performance began with two small screens at the front of the stage with scrolling text, mentioning things such as turn off your cellphones and get ready for the show to start. The screen also delivered several quirky and odd jokes that called out specific audience members, such as a woman who once competed in the Olympics and only came in third.
The acclaimed people in the audience never stood up, so it was unclear if all of this was fictional or if the creators of Blue Man Group like to research their audience members before the performance. Either way, the scrolling screens got a couple of chuckles out of the crowd, but they were both located at the sides of the stage and were too small to easily read.
Finally, the fluorescent blue lighting in the theater dimmed and the shadows of the three bald, paint-covered men appeared as silhouettes.
They began with a drumming routine that was complex and lively, building anticipation for the audience. After coming out from the shadows, the blue men continued to drum, but this time their drums had pink and yellow paint on them. With each beat of the drum, the paint flew all around, which was visually appealing against the dark background.
In one of their first skits, one blue man threw what looked like gumballs into another blue man’s mouth. The blue man with the “gumball” then spit it out on a blank canvas, but the gumball turned out to be paint, creating a tye-dye design on the canvas. They did this for awhile, throwing other things into each other’s mouths, but the skit went on for a bit too long.
Finally, one of the lucky audience members in the front received the painted canvas and the Blue Men continued on with their unusual escapades.
The first two-thirds of the performance had interesting concepts, but mainly included the three men walking around looking confused. Their innocent and quizzical nature was funny at first, but got old eventually. From a child’s point of view, the funny looking blue men doing weird things would probably be entertaining, but for anyone over the age of 13, having three blue men simply look around as if they don’t know what’s going on isn’t very stimulating
At one point, the Blue Men came into the audience and chose an older lady to come up on stage with them. Audience participation is always a plus with interesting, audience-oriented shows, but this part took too much time. They simply sat down at a table with the woman and ate Twinkies. Paint started to squirt out from the Blue Men’s chests for no reason and again, they looked around confused and mostly got chuckles from the kids in the audience.
This skit as a whole wasn’t extremely funny and wasn’t worth the amount of time it took up in the 90-minute show. Yet as the performance got closer to the end, the Blue Men really picked up the pace
In the dark theater, the audience was told to stand up as an electronic song played, which told us to “shake our booties.” This part was fun for everyone as kids playfully danced around and adults looked at each other embarrassingly as they, too, shook their booties.
A flashing screen kept reminding us to shake our booties when the blue men came out in light-up costumes. The music began to pick up, (still telling us to shake our booties), strobe lights came on and giant blow-up balls were released into the audience. It was like one giant beach ball party combined with a kid-friendly electronic dance music (EDM) concert (if that even is such a thing).
The finale was by far the best part of the night, making up for the rest of the performance, but the beginning was still too slow.
Overall, the ticket prices were not worth the whole experience when a majority of the performance was simply the Blue Men confusingly walk around doing mildly entertaining things. Although student tickets are $35, the experience as a whole wasn’t worth that either. It probably costs a lot of money for all the stunts and odd props they use throughout the show, but the entertainment value is not something worth more than $25.
Blue Man Group will be at the Briar Street Theatre (3133 N. Halsted Street) until Nov. 30. Tickets cost $49-99 and students can buy $35 tickets at the box office two hours before the performance (if there are any leftover). Tickets are available for purchase here.