Cirque du Soleil’s ‘R.U.N’ creates a thrill every minute
It’s a tough task. Trying to determine how many times Cirque du Soleil has revolutionized Las Vegas entertainment is akin to choosing your favorite awe-inspiring moment from one of the Canadian company’s many different Strip production shows.
And Cirque has done it once again with the innovative arrival of live action thriller R.U.N, which celebrates its world premiere grand opening this week at Luxor. This new stunt-based original production was created without many of the signature elements of Cirque du Soleil shows; there are no circus-style acrobatic acts and no avant-garde clowns entertaining the audience.
The world of R.U.N is not a dreamy, ethereal landscape a la “O” or KÁ. Instead, it’s a fast-paced and highly stylized interpretation of Las Vegas itself, a gritty and graffiti-strewn city in the desert where a mysterious hero embarks on an action-packed adventure. And you better strap in, because you’ll be fully immersed in every car chase, fight and fall.
The story is written by action and horror auteur Robert Rodriguez, the filmmaker behind Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn and Sin City. Rodriguez’s involvement is only one way Cirque collaborated with the Hollywood movie community in the creation of R.U.N; top-flight stunt coordinators and designers were also called into action and the music for the show was composed and arranged by Tyler Bates, who has produced for Marilyn Manson and Bush and scored films like 300, Guardians of the Galaxy and John Wick. And director Michael Schwandt has worked on TV projects like American Idol and America’s Next Top Model as well as live concert productions from Katy Perry, Kendrick Lamar and others.
R.U.N uses every theatrical and technological tool available to sculpt an entirely fresh entertainment experience. It’s not just Cirque’s first live-action show, it’s a pioneering production for the Las Vegas Strip and the live entertainment industry as a whole.
“We really were given permission to break the mold,” Schwandt said. “(Working) with a company that has such a strong performance history and being asked to break the rules and try something new is an amazing opportunity and has been super exciting for us.”
These realistic combat scenes and breathtaking stunts performed on electric motorcycles have never been performed on a Las Vegas stage. Vast projection surfaces add depth and drama to the action with pre-shot video and live footage creating a multidimensional experience. There are many layers to what you’re seeing and hearing in the R.U.N Theater, but everything is driven by the story and the physical performance. The action never stops, which is why the show is perhaps best described as a graphic novel coming to life.
“R.U.N is going somewhere completely different. We’re drawing on a profound expertise in human performance and spectacular stagecraft, but R.U.N is exploring new territories,” said show producer Gabriel Pinkstone. “We like to joke that R.U.N is what happens when the stunt people send the acrobats out for coffee and then lock the doors behind them.”
Luxor, 7 & 9:30 p.m. Sun. & Wed.-Sat. (dark Nov. 10 & 14); 7 p.m. show only Nov. 13 & 15, starting at $69 plus tax and fee. 855.706.5433