Sydney Lyric Theatre, August 14
Hello? Is anybody home? Well, not any body. Any sentient, intelligent life? Not much, it would seem, in Blue Man Group. “But what was the point?” I heard one departing audience member ask another. Nothing, beyond an intermittently successful attempt at refashioning entertainment.
Blue Man Group was devised by Americans Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton, and has been playing around the world for 25 years. This production is entirely imported, the State government chipping in via its Destination NSW agency. Surely there were better options.
The show combines a sci-fi look, abundant drumming, sophisticated projections, circus tricks, audience victims, action painting, sight gags, a rock band and beach balls.
It tells you all you need to know that the giant white beach balls stole the show. Half a dozen were released into the audience at the end for us to bounce around the auditorium as the dazzling lighting played upon them. This brought out the child in us all, and the visual effect was enchanting.
The show needed more such simple pleasures. Instead we had three blokes with blue heads – some combination of Callum Grant, Jonathan Clapham, Adam Erdossy and Alain Rochefort – drumming, miming, invading the audience and hauling unwilling victims on stage to participate.
Some of the tuned drumming routines on PVC pipe were clever and very well rehearsed (but dull musically), and some of the visual humour – never a word is spoken throughout – raised a few smiles, if fewer laughs.
There is no story and no singing, and what happened over 95 minutes could have been compressed into less than half that time as a novelty act in a leagues club. It may well hold some appeal for children, but it is certainly not for anyone wary of high volume.
Perhaps this is the future of entertainment glaring at us: sound, light and fury for the short-attention-span set, with no heart, no soul and no real art beyond impeccable production.
Until October 6.