New ‘Speechless’ tour features the performance artists in a futuristic control room during Denver Center run

Imagine giving a trio of 12-year-old boys a whole bunch of money and a technical production team with this simple instruction: Create a show with whatever you think looks cool, loud, messy and fun. And use lots of drumming. Oh, and wear blue face paint.

That’s the Blue Man Group, a worldwide entertainment juggernaut that’s taken that simple formula (with grown men) and turned it into a performance art experience that just about everyone has gotten a chance to see it since its start 32 years ago.

But if you haven’t yet (or like it so much you want more), there’s a tour of the newest show Speechless in town at the Denver Center Buell Theatre for a couple of days.

This production features an enormous set that looks like a control room for a group of mad scientists. It’s comprised of a wall of video monitors, lights, ladders, and a bunch of drums and other things to bang on to make it into a sort of digital jungle gym. Three Blue Men are on stage, along with two backing musicians playing drums and bass and occasionally guitar.

The show is the three of them having fun with various drums and other percussion instruments while performing an assortment of mini acts that range from simple parlor tricks (throwing balls of dough into each other’s mouths from great distances) to more sophisticated stuff — like sampling sounds from audience members and mixing it on the spot into a crazed soundtrack.

There are things that look like science experiments (banging on telescoping tubes and changing the pitch by elongating them) to magic tricks to comedy schtick to grand art experiments using colored string, water, paint and more.

While I couldn’t discern any kind of theme or story in the performance, the Blue Men (who never speak) work as a team with the goal of, again, doing stuff that looks and sounds cool. As such, they come across as a team of researchers — or perhaps circus carnies — bent on making the most of their environment. And they take advantage of the audience as well, wandering into the hall to get people on video, plucking some from their seats to join them on stage, and getting everyone involved waving their arms or doing call-and-response type activities.

Their silent humor ranges from clever to sophomoric, but it’s fair to say it appealed to a diverse assortment of people. There were a lot of kids in the audience giggling like crazy, and the show is easily understandable by anyone — which likely explains its success and broad appeal. Like a fireworks display, a Blue Man Group show is a loud, colorful and visceral entertainment that’s less theatre and more like an interactive concert and variety show with really good production values.

The group I was with was mixed on how much we liked the show. It was entertaining for sure, but the lack of story and focus made it seem more like a series of one-offs than a cohesive experience. It struck me as something that certainly belongs in places like Las Vegas, or maybe as a Super Bowl halftime show. Go in with the expectation that you’ll see a light, somewhat silly and high-tech revue of sorts and you won’t be disappointed.