Running time: 105 minutes
When: April 2-7, 2013
Where: San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Boulevard, San Jose, California
Tickets:$20-$82. Call 408-792-4111 or visit www.broadwaysanjose.com.
Bring your dancing shoes and ear plugs to the Blue Man Group show, on through Sunday at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts. The music is loud and infectious, and you will want to dance. And come hungry, especially if you're partial to processed snacks.
Blue Man Group has been mutely entertaining crowds worldwide for more than 20 years. Several actor/musicians take turns at playing the cast of three in this show, a crazy blend of music, art, technology, and prop comedy. It's like a wild stream-of-consciousness - you just go wherever it takes you.
The show has evolved since the early years. Back then it was mostly music, although the visual gag of guys in blue makeup and bald caps was always there. These days, it's (as I overheard a fellow audience member put it) a Vegas show. It's over the top and flashy. It's also smart, skillful and hugely entertaining.
The players are backed by an amazing group of rock musicians and percussionists, dressed in black with ultraviolet-lit masks and suspended on platforms above the stage like a neon Kiss go-go band. There's also a technician hauling around a video camera to capture live footage and audience shots, which are projected on onstage screens.
The low tech stuff is still there - three guys drumming on pipes, Stooges-style slapstick - but the addition of high-tech effects and concepts adds a layer of slickness, as well as an undercurrent of social commentary. In one section, the Blue Men read from three GiPads - gigantic iPads - one representing dumbed-down social media, one spouting advertising, and one displaying sobering statistics on the effects of our plugged-in society on our family and personal lives.
There are some running jokes about food - Cap'n Crunch, marshmallows, Twinkies - and there's also a vein of nerdy science-related themes, from how human vision works ("hellawack shiznit that happens inside your brain") to sci-fi movie culture (think "Blade Runner," but funny).
I shouldn't say anything more specific about the show, because a lot of the fun is in the surprises. But pay attention to the quote you see projected on the screen as you take your seat before the show. It's the closest you'll get to a unifying theme. Besides food.