Blue Man Group, New London Theatre, London

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The Independent Culture

Ah, the New London, Drury Lane, where Cats played for 21 years.

Now this concrete bunker of a theatre has been invaded by Martians, or rather bald, cobalt-tinted beings. The Blue Man Group are clowns with performance-art and pop-rock leanings. It's kind of sub-Stomp, sub-Blues Brothers and sub-Archaos all in one. They spew luminous paint around, spurt goo from their chests then eat it, and thwack plastic sewage pipes to produce cover versions of hit tunes. They are mutes, staring and staggering as if naïve or very dim - or, perhaps, just dreadfully oxygen-deprived.

In fact they are first seen drumming on the walls in separate cells and are supposed to convey modern urban alienation. But these guys are also reaching out, scrambling over the stalls to generate a sense of shared tribal fun. Or something like that. Audience members are encouraged to don toilet-paper headbands and the auditorium is ultimately engulfed in tangled loo-roll, which might say something about the value of the show.

Having started as anti-yuppie New York street theatre, this group has become a cloned global brand. Our supposed ingénues also seem curiously prone to product placement. But there are some great physical gags and a cartoon-man springing into 3-D life. The humour, though, is mostly puerile and there's one really nasty audience-participation sketch, with hood and noose, which is worthy of Abu Ghraib. For the record, several kids behind me seemed wildly excited. One yelled spasmodically, "This is brilliant!" - which was sort of sweet, scary and profoundly depressing.

To 26 March, 0870 895 5589

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