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Other Reviews

Blue Man Group

(Copyright © 2008 Blue Man Productions, Inc.)

 

Blue Man Group is the most utterly unique stage show we’ve ever seen. Blending fantastic music, fascinating science, unusually-created art, hilarious humor, and constant crowd interaction and participation, this show is nearly indescribable— but here is our humble attempt…

The three main characters are blue-colored men in black clothing (presumably aliens, but don’t worry; though occasionally a little strange, they’re definitely the friendly kind ). While they never talk, and look basically identical to each other, they each have unique personalities, and are extremely curious— nearly every object or scenario that they encounter is apparently something completely new to them. They also play instruments made out of both amazing-looking and amazing-sounding PVC pipes, fiberglass rods, lighted drums filled with paint, and even food— and, combined with their huge crew of fellow musicians (multiple drummers, bassists, and guitarists), they create some incredible music.

Blue Man Group

(Photo by Paula Wilson, Copyright © 2008 Blue Man Productions, Inc.)

And then there’s their humor, which is clean, yet extremely unpredictable (and absolutely hilarious!). Often mixed with the crowd participation, both elements are so integral to the show that they’re woven throughout the entire experience— even before it actually starts!

There’s really no way to convey by written words or even those official promo photos just how awesome this show is; its humor, energy, so-good-it-floors-you music, and just plain fun are literally off the charts. We recommend this show to everyone— go and enjoy!

Our rating for Blue Man Group: 5 & 1/2 Stars. 5 & 1/2 Stars

[Note: Along with their worldwide stage shows and stage show tours, Blue Man Group has released several albums of their music, and they’ve also gone on two different Rock Tours (the first called “The Complex Rock Tour”, and the second called “The How To Be A Megastar Tour 2.0”) which were both filmed to DVD.

The Blue Man Group Rock Tours contain some elements that are similar to their stage versions, but they are even more interactive and even more music-focused. And, indeed, every Blue Man Group venue and tour actually ends up being different from any of the others, not only because of the spontaneous elements introduced by the interaction with the crowd, but also because the shows are specifically tailored for each city (in the case of their permanent stage show venues) or for each presentation format (in the case of their tours). And it’s all great (and recommended!). ]

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The Phantom Of The Opera - Christine

(Copyright © 2007 The Really Useful Group Limited.)

First, a word of warning to those who might be thinking of reading the novel or seeing the movie first, to ‘know what to expect’… In truth, the novel and play versions are so different, we would really recommend that you refrain from reading the novel at all, at least until after seeing the play. As for the movie version, the filmmakers mixed the book and play a little and there isn’t so much mystique, so we would still recommend seeing the play first.

Now, you may be wondering why the play is the best version; after all, the three mediums should be quite similar, in story at least. Unfortunately, however, they’re not. So, before we continue with our review of the play itself, we’d like to explain the difference by giving you a personal story from one of our reviewers:

 

“My first introduction to The Phantom Of The Opera was the play, and I’m really glad it was. I was pretty young, probably only 9 or 10 years old, so of course a few of the subtleties went over my head at the time. But even with that, and even with the dark elements, I loved it! It made such an amazing impression on me.

For Christmas that year I received the original cast soundtrack, and through that I was able to ‘see’ it over and over again. Well, fast-forward to the summer of 2004— as, now a young adult, I was getting ready to go see the play once again. I was at a bookstore and saw— *gasp!*— The Phantom Of The Opera novel! Wow, I thought. This should be really good; I love the play, and the play was based on it. So I got the book and read it, and afterwards— no joke— I said, ‘Ugh! It’s an old-school-horror novel!’ I mean, I really disliked it.

You see, in the play, you could sympathize with the Phantom. He was mysterious, but human, with human emotions. Sure, those emotions were way out of whack… and sure, he gets rid of a few guys… but he still had his good side. He even had a relationship of quasi-love with Christine. Contrast that with the book, where he’s this crazed, typical-old-horror-flick maniacal freak, who basically just keeps on trying to kill Raoul in every weird way he can think of.

I was really shocked at the difference between the two. Thank goodness I saw the awesome play first!”

 

We agree. In fact, we have to commend Charles Hart, Richard Stilgoe, and Andrew Lloyd Webber because they took a pretty awful novel and somehow magically morphed it into a sweeping, entrancing, excellent play.

The Phantom Of The Opera

(Copyright © 2007 The Really Useful Group Limited.)

The play’s story (at least the bulk of it, which is actually a long flashback after the year-1911 prologue) takes place in 1881, and lets you in on the lives of the actors, actresses, managers, and other staff of the Paris Opéra House theater. The previous manager of this theater had recently left, under some rather mysterious circumstances, and two inexperienced men named André and Firmin— seeing ‘a great opportunity’ and lots of money to be made— eagerly seized the position jointly. All of the actors, actresses, and staff know of the Opera Ghost that supposedly haunts their theater, but both the Prima Donna and the new managers pay little attention, considering the ‘legend’ a mere product of foolish imaginations. As you are introduced to the other main characters, however, you begin to see that the Opera Ghost is not just mere fantasy… and as an old childhood friend of Christine’s returns from her past, things will get ever more complicated and mysterious.

 

An idea that was a brilliant addition to The Phantom… by its creators was the involvement of the crowd (and orchestra pit). If you think about it, it’s a real play in a real theater— about people who do plays in a theater! So, they have a unique opportunity to use the crowd as the audience for not only the real play, but also for the plays within the story itself.

For example, at a certain point in The Phantom Of The Opera, the managers try to catch the Phantom. They bring ‘police’ there to make sure the doors are secure— so those ‘police’ in the story then fan out down the real aisles and slam the real exit doors to ‘secure’ them. Then, they have another ‘policeman’ with a (stage) gun down in the real orchestra pit, just where he’s supposed to be in the story, etc.

And then, of course, there’s also the famous giant chandelier that hangs directly above the real crowd the entire time (…well, most of the time, anyway )— just as it does in the story. There are also several great illusions, including one where a certain character completely and mysteriously disappears.

And apart from the clever use of those elements, of course, there is the power of the story itself: The darkness, the danger, the mystery, the absolutely stunning songs, the romance, the sprinkling of humor (not a lot, but just enough), and pure, raw emotion. You experience and explore the mixture of darkness and beauty that is present in human life— the extremes of murder and lust on the one hand vs. true love, self-sacrifice, and compassion on the other.

In short, The Phantom Of The Opera is one of the best plays we’ve seen, and it’s recommended.

Our rating for The Phantom Of The Opera: 5 & 1/3 Stars. 5 & 1/3 Stars

There are 4 instances of D*** and its variations as swearing (and several more meant literally); 2 instances of H*** as swearing (and several more meant literally); and— while nothing is particularly shown— there is also some relationally immoral behavior in 2 ‘plays’ the characters ‘present’.

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TeenHopeLine.com

 

TeenHopeLine provides a safe place for teens and young adults to talk privately with someone, one-on-one, about whatever they’re struggling with, facing, or going through.

You can chat with a TeenHopeLine volunteer both online and by phone.

To chat online, go to their their website, click “Enter THL”, and then click the “TeenHopeLine” logo. The online operating hours are 7pm to 11pm Central Time every day.

To talk by phone, call 1-800-394-HOPE (4673), which is open from 7pm to 6am every day.

If you or someone you know is going through something or you just need to talk with someone who cares, please check out TeenHopeLine.

Our rating for TeenHopeLine:   5 & 1/2 Stars. 5 & 1/2 Stars

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TheOneRing.net

 

There’s a reason that TheOneRing.net is the #1 Tolkien and Lord Of The Rings fansite on the web.

It has comprehensive daily news on what’s happening with the actors, filmmakers, and crew of the LOTR films, as well as J.R.R. Tolkien’s family, the Lord Of The Rings-related books, music, concerts, conventions, collectibles, games and more; a close-knit, family-like, wonderfully welcoming online message board community (featuring some very lively and interesting discussions); and much more.

If you even moderately like The Lord Of The Rings (or The Hobbit or The Silmarillion, etc.), we’d recommend it for you.

Our rating for TheOneRing.net:   5 & 1/3 Stars. 5 & 1/3 Stars

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Websites:


Answers In Genesis
AnswersInGenesis.org



TeenHopeLine



TheOneRing.net


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Stage Shows:


Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group

(Image Copyright © 2008 Blue Man Productions, Inc.)


 

 

Plays:


The Phantom Of The Opera - Christine
The Phantom Of The Opera

(Image Copyright © 2007 The Really Useful Group Limited.)


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