BLUE MAN GROUP written and directed by Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink, with Scott Bishop, Tom Galassi, Yann Geoffroy, Goldman, Randall Jaynes, Jason McLin, Jonathan Taylor, Stanton and Wink. Presented by the Blue Man Group and Clear Channel at the Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge). Runs indefinitely, Tuesday-Thursday 8 pm, Friday-Saturday 7 and 10 pm, matinee Sunday 2 pm. $59. 416-872-1111, www.blueman.com. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
You can't compare the Blue Man Group show to any other act around.
It's a rock concert, heavy on percussion. A display of magic and illusion. A critique of modern technology and information overload.
Put those together, mix with some cobalt blue paint and add a dash of David Letterman's Stupid Human Tricks and you've got some idea of what you're going to see.
Forget labels. This unique show, with its downtown ideas about art and society and its uptown polish, delivers hypnotic entertainment for all ages.
The key performers are three mute bald men with blue faces and black clothes, each with a deadpan look and skill with a drum.
The drumming part's important, because it creates a primal vibe that grounds the show and gives it weight.
Through a series of short scenes, the three creatures - are they newly landed aliens? - interact with everything from crunchy breakfast cereals to a bag of marshmallows.
They learn to become rock musicians. They break the fourth wall by scouring the audience and having one of us join them for a dinner of Twinkies - sorry about the regurgitation.
At their simplest, they take us back to the sense of discovery and fun from childhood. At their most profound, they send up the sense of alienation and confusion that comes from technology and marketing.
One of the cleverest and funniest scenes consists of the three identical-looking men each displaying a series of placards and asking us to read only theirs. Of course we don't. We want to read as much as possible. Why? Because it's there, and we don't want to miss anything.
This scene is echoed later on, when their rocking band delivers a rendition of White Rabbit and the audience gets to follow signs according to whether they know the song, don't or don't care.
The show boasts one of the best uses of multimedia elements I've ever seen. Video footage takes us through the halls and catwalks of the stunning Panasonic Theatre .
Too bad the Blue Men didn't leave the theatre, walk out onto Yonge and try to interact wordlessly with the large group of protestors from some of the city's unions. Would have made a terrific encore.