CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A sizeable crowd came out for the first night of the Blue Man Group's two-day visit to Charleston. They got a good audience, but it was a long way from a sell-out. There were a lot of empty seats, hard not to notice -- and that's kind of too bad.
Blue Man Group shows only come to Charleston... well, every once in a blue moon and they are definitely a treat. The last time through might have been five years ago when the Blue Man Group's "How To Be A Megastar 2.1" played the Charleston Civic Center.
That show was dynamic, wildly creative and wonderfully entertaining. This one was, too -- but just like before, the crowd might have been better, a few more people could have given it a chance and tried something different.
The Blue Man Group had tough competition, of course. Even while the three bald blue men were banging out rock songs on PVC pipe, dining (barely) on breakfast cereal, and apparently exploring the upper G.I. tract of someone in the front row, a presidential debate was raging.
Important matters were being seriously discussed, but the energetic, strange and almost continuously fun entertainment was a welcome balm. It was an oasis for anybody who might be feeling a little shell shocked by the seemingly endless red/blue battle.
It was nice just to sit back and let health care, war and the state of the economy go for a couple of hours. It was nice to forget about all of that and laugh uproariously and be occasionally amazed.
Still, even if people weren't busy watching the political cage match they might have stayed away because they didn't know what to make of the Blue Man Group. It's not an easy show to categorize.
On its surface, a Blue Man Group show isn't much different than circus clowning. Three bizarre characters in blue make-up silently (nobody ever says a word) do bits of physical comedy, mixed in with some music, a little sleight of hand and a lot of clever use of technology.
The show is more than that, of course. While they're playing out their little skits, occasionally testing the comfort levels of the audience with their gags, they're also illustrating ideas about individuality and conformity, alienation and acceptance.
Blue Man Group shows are thought provoking -- if you're in the mood to be provoked -- but beyond that they're just a lot of fun.
They're also in town for a second show Thursday night.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.