Review: Blue Man Group debuts weeklong performances in Hawaii

Web exclusive

June 19, 2013

Photos: Courtesy blue man group

Watching a live performance of the Blue Man Group is like watching a Charlie Chaplin silent film. The three men, with faces painted blue, don’t talk throughout the show, but their silly interactions with each other and facial expressions will make you smile, laugh and even dance.

The Blue Man Group made its debut in Hawaii this week. The experimental musical theater troupe was formed in 1987 by buddies Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton. Since its early start in the New York underground performance art scene, the Blue Man Group has made national television show appearances and performed long-running shows in Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York and Orlando.

You’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting a storyline or plot. Instead, men play drums and interact with technology and various household objects using a combination of loud percussive music, props, theatrical fog, strobe lights, gags, stunts and audience participation.

For first-time Blue Man Group goers, it’s a show that entertains without words—a respite from typical musicals and plays. For those who’ve seen the show before, it’s still worth seeing again since it's been updated with humungous touch screen phones on stage. In the skit, they play with different apps on the phone. Some skits dragged—reading the numerous text messages on the phones, for example, became a chore. But mostly, the expressions of the blue men keep things lively as they explore the touch screen phones, unleash their inner Picassos painting on blank canvasses and play Beethoven’s “Fur Elise,” Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and “Aloha Oe” on drums.

Attending a Blue Man Group performance is like jamming at rock ‘n’ roll concert complete with huge colorful balls, toilet paper and streamers. There’s an “Ultimate Dance Party” skit, in which the booming announcer voice commands audience members to stand up and “shake your booty.” You’ll learn a lot from the show, including different words for rear end: “bounce house,” “sonic boom,” “J.Los,” “subwoofer” and “junk in the trunk.” Who knew there were so many words for your okole?

Be warned, there’s no intermission. Before the start of the show, an LED scrolling text sign instructs, “GO PEE NOW!” And don’t show up late; the Blue Men Group will stop what they’re doing and give you a public shaming.

If you go, look for the blue men after the show. Afterwards, the blue men stayed in character as they gathered at the Neal Blaisdell Center entrance to pose for pictures with fans. Some people walked away with wide grins and a smudge of blue paint on their faces.

$50-$100, June 18-23 (7:30 p.m. Wednesday – Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday), Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall, 777 Ward Ave., 768-5400,