The main reason I — and I assume most other people — wanted to attend the Dallas “tour premiere” of Blue Man Group was the answer that burning question: “Just what the hell is Blue Man Group anyway?”
I still couldn’t tell you.
It wasn’t just that the most exciting that happened during the debut performance at the Winspear Opera House was an audience member who seemed to have a heart attack midshow; it’s that all the drumming, New Age music, lame comedy, overwrought technology, strobe lighting and wannabe magic, filtered through the conceit (apparently) that the Blue Men are extraterrestrials learning about earth culture innocently, is at once too much and not enough. E.T. — stay home.
The problem is, if your show is too outre to fit into a genre — and I’m not saying every show must — then what you do had better be done well. It was distracting how, during a long sequence involved over-sized iPhones, you could see the cast members in costume behind the scenes long before they were to make their entrances. A show like this is about surprises; if you don’t surprise me, if you’re sloppy in your execution, you fail.
The nature of the show is in some ways an elaborate social experiment — an attempt at groupthink with entertainment values thrown in. But beyond improvised artwork (which, admittedly, gives legitimacy to the importance of buying non-toxic paints) and gags with marshmallows and jokes about plumbing, I just don’t get it. Max Headroom was a fascinating fad 20 years ago; Blue Man Group should have faded with it.