There were quite a few new routines in the Blue Man Group’s latest visit to the Orpheum Theatre but all of them didn’t play off the three aliens’ naivete.
Instead, many relied on coercing audience members into serving as willing accomplices.
While the laughs were there, the surprise element wasn’t. Pounding on PVC pipe, spitting paintballs and spraying the audience with water were givens – things they didn’t discover but seemed to know all along.
In the past, the Blue Men happened on the laugh-inducing skills. Tuesday night, they were well-oiled pros.
Like the Three Stooges with mime capabilities, the three moved to a driving beat, sometimes provided by them, other times offered by two musicians parked in the back.
Catching paintballs in his mouth, one created a piece of spin art on a canvas.
Grabbing marshmallows in his mouth, another produced an obelisk-like sculpture. The bit was shorter than usual, but a welcome landmark.
Similarly, pounding on drums with water pouring down on them brought applause.
But a bit with two audience members sitting with them on chairs didn’t have the same punch it enjoyed in the past. As a result, the three cut it short and sent the two non-Blue Men back to their seats.
Video cameras picked up some of those close encounters of the audience kind, but they weren’t specific enough to warrant the big-screen attention. Instead, it was just the proximity of men in blue makeup that drew attention.
Playing on a huge scaffold filled with lights, television monitors and wires, the latest Blue Man production looked bigger than past ones and, at times, hinted at a 2.0 show that played the Tyson Events Center several years ago.
Meridian, Mike Brown, Steven Wendt and Adam Zuick were billed as the Blue guys but it was impossible to determine who was which. One, a bit shorter than the others, often took the lead and got the biggest laughs. He abetted the two who pounded on those PVC drums.
A PVC windmill made its appearance near the end of the 90-minute show but it wasn’t clear why it was added. The three danced several times, got the audience to stand up and move and tried a call and response bit with cards that said “Me,” “You,” “We,” “Us.” There may have been a message in this, but it was lost.
More pointed were routines that called out late-arriving audience members and a facial recognition computer that couldn’t identify any of the aliens.
Like “Stomp” and “Tap Dogs,” “Blue Man Group” is a long-running well-oiled machine. It toys with its conceit and always manages to entertain. But the newest additions should be vetted a bit more before they replace other tried (and true) segments.
Tuesday’s edition was fine. It just needed to go back to its original premise and let us marvel at the discoveries three aliens make when they noodle with objects they’ve never seen before. When we’re in on the joke, it’s not as funny.