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No Blues for Blue Man Group

January 25, 2012

A note to all those who claim to hate mimes: Maybe they just needed a technology update.

Blue Man Group, which opened last night at Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts, is without a doubt the ultimate mime show.

Think about it for a minute: Three silent guys, albeit swathed in blue grease paint, carrying out sight gags, sketch comedy, musical performances and other scenarios without uttering a sound? Is that not the very definition of a mime?

However, their act is surrounded by an amazing array of multi-media technology and theatrical tricks the likes of which at least some of us have never seen. Voiceovers, narration and thunderous music fill the audio gaps, but the Blue Men never utter a sound.

It’s pretty ingenious when you think about it, but the 100 minutes of visual and aural onslaught may make thought unnecessary or, at the very least, inconvenient. BMG is all about sensory stimulation, from the opening “paint drum” sequence (fans, you know what I’m talking about) to the closing dance party that filled Overture Hall’s ample air space with massive glowing balls, confetti and other commercial detritus, a bombastic ending that just seemed appropriate to the Jello-flinging, body-painting performers.

Our group had three generations, aged 9 to 59, and it was a toss-up as to who enjoyed it more. “Fun for the whole family” may not apply to everyone, but we had a great time.

And were he still alive, Marcel Marceau, probably the world’s greatest mime, might even be inspired to turn up the volume and paint his face blue after seeing how far his art form has come.

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