Are we living in the Age of i–Phoniness? Of more actual contact and less genuine communication? Of advancing technology and receding humanity? Certainly. Spread the message. Don’t text it, Tweet it or post it. Shout it—silently, that is—from the stage of Blue Man Group’s new Monte Carlo show now that the blue-hued triumvirate has relocated from the Venetian.
Our gizmo-giddy world has long been a juicy target for the face-painted imps. Yet as our obsession reaches absurd levels of literally distracting ourselves to death (particularly, texting while walking and driving), the blue dudes’ imaginative new set pieces keep their performance-art commentary sharp, funny and invigorating.
Segments staged at a recent sneak-peek show offered a glimpse at their new, refitted venue—formerly home to the JabbaWockeeZ and Lance Burton—where the production has been in previews, and opens Nov. 14.
Ushering audiences inside, a parade of thrashing drums and flashing lights starring musicians, robots and puppets marches through the casino to the theater doors. Onstage, the show’s best new riff features an iPad-spoofing “Gi-Pad,” three large, app-stuffed screens for the daffy lads to fiddle with as an announcer tosses in digs at the i-Generation: “We’re going to do for reading what texting did for driving.”
Speed-scrolling through the screens, the blue boys turn up classics shredded into text talk. Shakespeare is reduced to “OMG, Romeo is so hot I could just die!” Tolstoy is sliced to “war, war, peace, war, war.” Pointed messages are mixed in, some funny, as in this exchange between screens:
“Don’t u want to have a real conversation where u look people in the eye?”
“Dude, u are creeping me out. I have to de-friend you.”
Furthering the man-vs.-machine motif, a shiny, shapely humanoid “showbot” is spotlighted in a clever segment about robotics and why, as the announcer tells us, despite their capabilities “they don’t come close to expressing themselves artistically, the way humans can.”
Driving that home is an exhilarating light-and-sound pastiche in which the theater is transformed into the luminescent interior of the human brain. Our merry mimes play a new steampunk-style pipe instrument called a “neuronulum,” generating musical energy pulses, and pound giant “brain drums,” firing off streaking neurons and exploding synapses. Biology class, taken out of the classroom and into a dream.
Sprinkled with the Blue Men’s wide-eyed mugging and faux-wonderment, the production climaxes with a streamer shower and descent of fat, floating orbs for the crowd to bat around.
Swapping Strip homes has renewed the blue crew, painting their art in imaginative new colors.
STRIP POSTSCRIPT: Forget the “circle of life.” Vegas has the Cirque of Life, which comes full-Cirque once again as Zarkana officially debuts Nov. 9 at Aria. Locals, take heed: You can no longer renew your driver’s license, apply for a home loan or vote without proof of attendance at one of the ubiquitous Cirque du Soleil productions. Birth certificates will be denied unless pregnant women first take their children, in utero.