From the moment you enter the lobby of the 1,463-seat theater inside the Luxor Hotel and Casino, you are transformed into an underworld of bright red lights spelling out the word RUN. It’s edgy, gritty, and filled with street art on every wall. What you see are clues to Hollywood filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids, Machete and Alita: Battle Angel) newest live action story.
It is one of the most immersive thrillers ever produced in Las Vegas. Before taking a seat, theater goers walk by a car crashed into a wall, visit an interactive telephone booth, witness someone getting a tattoo at an onsite tattoo shop, and stand near a red lit Wedding Chapel front door with the words “Til Death” in neon letters.
Cast members perform a choreographed acrobatic fight right before audiences eyes, setting the mood and tone that continues into the restrooms with this one-of-a-kind Cirque du Soleil show.
It’s a bit of “Fast and Furious” meets “West Side Story” with a “Romeo and Juliet” spin and tortuous “Saw” scenes rolled into one. Montreal based Cirque and Vegas brought in a top notch Hollywood creative team with Rodriguez, including director Michael Schwandt (The Masked Singer), along with Cirque alum Stefan Miljevic, and action and horror composer Tyler Bates (Dawn of the Dead, 300, John Wick and Sucker Punch).
Taking inspiration from graphic novels, R.U.N offers precisely choreographed stunt performance, impressive technology and a multimedia stage, luring the audience to experience the underground and outskirts of Las Vegas. The enlarged projection screens enhances the action by the cast with scenes of the city.
Rodriguez creates a love triangle of a Hero, feisty Bride-to-be, and The Groom. Two clans with “tough as nails” girlfriends perform stunt-filled chases up and down stairs, riding motorbikes down theatre aisles and onstage. A team of video camera operators follow their every move and project their actions on the large screens.
An important star in the show is the DJ who mixes the music while standing in the upper back of the theatre with a halo above her head. She sets the tone rockin’ to Tyler Bates music. The Doctor character is insane performing inhuman acts on those he captures.
If the creators goal is to attract a younger crowd, they succeeded. Everyone loves a good romance, with chase scenes, and motorcyclists racing up a 12-foot-tall ramp, levitating off of their seat, and testing the limits of gravity, however I winced and shielded my eyes during the torture scenes. The pyrotechnics of humans on fire were very realistic and made me uncomfortable too, yet a 20-something man sitting next to me, later told me he opened his eyes even wider during these scenes.
“R.U.N” is Cirque’s first new show in Las Vegas since “Michael Jackson: One” opened in May 2013. It raises the bar of multimedia magic, jaw dropping stunts and martial arts, and death defying pyrotechnic performances. It’s one of the most titillating “see it to believe it” Las Vegas shows on The Strip.
R.U.N official premiere was Nov. 14, 2019. Directed by Michael Schwandt, with a screenplay and opening narration by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. Original score composed by Tyler Bates. Tickets start at $59. The theater is dark Monday and Tuesday. Show times are 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.