Blue Man Group, New London Theatre, London

Blue humour is not for the faint-hearted, but children of all ages will be impressed
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The Independent Culture

I've heard of blue movies, blue blood, and blue suede shoes - but Blue Men?

A trio of these alien creatures - mute, black-garbed, bald, their latex-covered domes glistening in cobalt blue - officiate at the multisensory circus of a show that opened last night at the New London Theatre. To "black up" would be career suicide for any performer these days. But the three guys behind this project have proved that to "blue up" can become a licence to print money. The Blue Men concept began modestly as a performance art stunt - a "funeral" in Central Park in 1988 for everything their inventors hated about that decade. Now, though, these innocent, inquisitive figures are taking over the world in cloned shows from Berlin to Las Vegas. London has been slow to catch up. What precisely have we been missing?

Well, it's not easy to categorise a multimedia extravaganza that includes everything from the spectacular abuse of junk food to deafening tribal percussion on drums that erupt in fountains of coloured paint when thumped.

But it's fair to say that this may not be the ideal show for people of a shy disposition or hygiene freaks. Not since Sir Les Paterson last shared his saliva with the stalls has so much gunk splattered from the stage (the people in the front rows are issued with protective plastic macs).

And, with the Blue Men crawling over the entire venue, nobody is safe from investigation. One punter was subjected to a literal, graphic endoscopy, its intrusive findings flashed onto a screen. A Japanese girl was invited up for a session involving individually wrapped Mr Kipling cakes that ended with puke spurting from everyone's chests, including hers.

Audience participation and the group's penchant for making fun of the blurred line between modern art and commercial prank merged magnificently in the sequence where another punter was strung up by his heels, daubed with paint and bounced against a canvas to create an instant "self-portrait".

I think the Blue Man Group should lobby to memorialise the Queen in like manner - a thrill for her Majesty, and a nice change from the attentions of Rolf Harris. I particularly liked that section because I suspect that it's a in-jokey nod to Yves Klein, a 20th century artist also indelibly associated with blue, who used to create pictures by having naked models roll in paint and wriggle against his canvases.

The targets are pretty broad (the lack of social connection in a cyber café; the slick mechanised movements that disguise lack of musical ability in today's pop etc) but the humour has a likeable, deadpan puckishness and constant technical flair.

The show combats urban alienation by inviting you to join in a rite of joyous infantile regression. Children and adolescents of all ages will have a ball.

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