ENTIRELY NEW CIRQUE-CUMSTANCES: Action thriller ‘R.U.N.’ at Luxor a departure from Cirque du Soleil norm
They said it would be high-octane, and they weren’t kidding.
Based on a sneak peek at a couple of “chapters” from R.U.N, Cirque du Soleil’s new live-action thriller opening Oct. 24 at Luxor, audiences can expect an adrenaline-soaked, fist-throwing romp through a decidedly dark version of Las Vegas and its desert environs. The show promises nonstop, pulse-elevating action in the form of stage combat, death-defying motorcycle stunts, car chases, special effects and pyrotechnics.
So, you know, don’t forget your heart medication — because this isn’t your typical, dreamy Cirque show.
“If you’re expecting to see our trademark acrobatics in a dreamlike, impressionist world, you’re in the wrong place,” says show producer Gabriel Pinkstone. “R.U.N is going somewhere completely different.”
In fact, the first premise of R.U.N was that it include no acrobatics, says creation director Stefan Mijevic. “This was new ground,” he says. “It forced us to look at the creation process differently.”
Show creators turned for inspiration to graphic novels and action movies including V for Vendetta, 300 and Sin City. Scripted by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, the 75-minute show’s linear storyline kicks off with a gangland wedding that gets unpleasantly interrupted. This interruption leads to a desert car chase with added drama: fighters grapple on top of a racing car as the chase continues.
“We started with the notion of a story, of a quest, of following a hero on his quest up until … its resolution,” Mijevic says. “The idea was to find a way to integrate the performances so they can fuel the story.”
Fast-moving scenery projected onto the walls of the theater, along with performers (some on motorcycle!) who venture into the audience, make the production feel immersive. It’s as though viewers are inside a graphic novel or videogame.
But the immersion starts even before the show, in the theater’s lobby — a tagger’s paradise that still has that new spray-paint smell. Graffiti-lined walls, smoke and a car that appears to have been freshly crashed through a wall help conjure a gritty, fictional Las Vegas underworld.
Pinkstone describes it as “the seedy back alley in our imaginary Las Vegas.” Hanging out there before the show is “like having a martini before a great meal: The whole experience is better,” she says.
Underscoring R.U.N’s edgy feel is a soundtrack by composer Tyler Bates, who wrote new music and arranged existing songs to create what show director Michael Schwandt describes as the “pulse” of the show, a “really awesome combination … of electronic music mixed with rock.”
R.U.N is the 10th partnership in the 25-year relationship between Cirque du Soleil and MGM Resorts International. Throughout that long relationship, MGM has watched Cirque “deliver spectacle after spectacle, wowing visitors from around the world and giving them new reasons to visit,” Cliff Atkinson, Luxor’s president and COO, said in a news release earlier this year.
R.U.N replaces Criss Angel’s Mindfreak, which moved to Planet Hollywood in late 2018.
R.U.N will be performed Wednesdays through Sundays at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The show is intended for mature viewers ages 13 and older. For more information or to buy tickets (starting at $59, plus taxes and fees), visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/run, call (855) 706-5433 or visit the R.U.N Theater box office.
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