NORWEGIAN EPIC’S BLUE MAN GROUP
As we took our seats in the Epic Theatre for Blue Man Group, I noticed ‘ticker tape’ style messages appearing simultaneously on two screens either side of the stage. Imaginary audience member’s birthdays were announced and everyone was instructed silently, via the messages, to sing Happy Birthday or to applaud other more ludicrous announcements. By the time the show started, the on-stage rock band was already playing and the goofiness was well underway.
Take clowning and grotesque behaviour; throw in drumming on weird bits of apparatus; mix with rock n’ roll music; cook for 75 minutes or so and the end product might be something like the Blue Man Group. But the sum is much greater than its parts. The basic concept is three men dressed completely in black, with blue painted heads giving a supercharged high energy performance. There is no audible speaking but it combines music, lots of paint splashing about and hilarious audience participation. Beyond the concept is the indescribable fun and sheer joy for everyone there. And NCL’s new ship, Norwegian Epic, is featuring Blue Man Group for eight shows during a seven night cruise.
Highlights of this manic show were a laryngoscope (with video camera attached) supposedly being put down an audience member’s throat and the image being projected on screen, Captain Crunch cereal being used as a very messy prop and a skit which had the three men ejecting food from the front of their stomachs via a tube in their suits as if humans would normally have an orifice for this purpose.
Their unusual take on the ‘Rock Concert Experience is infectious. A large power point projection depicts stick people performing typical ‘rock concert movements’ e.g. putting hands in the air and waving them back and forth. Each activity is given a specific number. The audience is then instructed to imitate the movement demonstrated to a raucous rock music accompaniment. It’s this mass audience participation that makes the Blue Man Group show something completely unique.