Sunday, October 19, 2008

How To Beat a Dead Horse: Blue Man Group

For over twenty years, these enigmatic men have been doing the same things: catching marshmallows, drumming with paint and scaring little kids.

When the Blue Man Group was announced as a new venue at Universal Orlando, I was ecstatic. I hadn't seem them in over six years since my trip to New York City. Before the show opened, I attended the Media preview, and got my taste of what hopefully was going to change Orlando's appeal. Recently, I was invited back and I got to see another performance last week. It was not what I remembered.

I entered the theater, and already noticed something was askew. A giant curtain seperated the front and back half of the theater. I asked an usher what it was for, and he told me that the show only sold enough tickets this evening to fill less than half the theater. I guess to make the show more intimate, they lower this black monstrosity so the customers don't feel like they are attending an unpopular show. As the light went down, something else happened. The audience began to yell and whistle similar to a cheap rock concert, something that had not happened during my full-house media preview a little over a year ago. The show starts and as the Blue Men would drum, screams of "Get 'er done" and "We love you blue babies" rang in my ears. I then saw where I was, I was surrounded by cheap beer and hot dogs in a dark room filled with drunks. I thought "Halloween Horror Nights", and this must be a bad crowd. The show pressed on.

Sadly, the performance was horrible. The band seemed out of tune compared to the CD recordings I listened to before attending, and the Blue Men were rather off as well. Failing to catch most of the marshmallows, and producing a horribly ugly "spin art" (a long-running staple of the show) they kept going. Throughout the night, the Blue Man attempted to make us laugh but the long and drawn out Captain Crunch bit and Ear-Drumming segment only made me cringe. After nearly two hours of a mediocre performance, I stumbled out of the theater. I asked another usher for the theater if the crowds were usually this annoying, hoping to hear "no, it's only because of Horror Nights". Sadly, the girl told me that this audience was rather like all of them over the past six to eight months.

A well lit souvineer stand whored out the ugly spin-art from the show for fifty dollars, adjacent to the theme-park priced snack stand with plenty of blue-themed mixed drinks and cocktails. I ran for the exit and wished I had never come. My expectations being undermined, I hope to make it to New York City soon to see the original show  and hopefully rekinder my interest.

At over SIXTY-FIVE dollars per ticket, the show fails to impress. I should've spent the twenty dollars to see GWAR throw fake blood on stage, antics that Blue Man imitates nightly and with less laughs.