Cirque du Soleil in new Vegas show leaves the acrobats out

FILE – This April 26, 2018 file photo shows director Robert Rodriguez waving to the audience during the 20th Century Fox presentation at CinemaCon 2018 in Las Vegas. Cirque du Soleil is planning a new live show for the Las Vegas Strip this fall, written by Rodriguez. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK | Cirque du Soleil is planning a new live show for the Las Vegas Strip this fall but there’s a twist — there won’t be a single whimsical clown.

The Montreal-based circus company that has for years found success combining aerial acts, bombastic music and flimsy plots is shifting gears to present its “first live-action thriller,” one written by renowned film director Robert Rodriguez.

“R.U.N ” at a theater in the Luxor Las Vegas hotel will feature fast-paced chases, combat and stunts, drawing inspiration from action movies and graphic novels. The action will spill off the stage and into the audience. There will be no acrobats.

“The challenge we gave to ourselves was to bring a live, immersive experience that will make the spectator feel part of the action,” said Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil. “You will be immersed by the universe of the show as soon as you put your first foot in the theater.”

Rodriguez (“From Dusk til Dawn” and “Alita: Battle Angel”) wrote the story — which centers on a wedding that’s interrupted, leading to multiple chases — and composer Tyler Bates (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” ”Atomic Blonde”) wrote the music. Lamarre said he hopes fans of action movie will check it out, especially a younger audience than typically attends Cirque shows. It will open in late October.

Lamarre said audience members will sit in the 1,500-seat theater and be surrounded by screens and pyrotechnics. The show will feature some 60 artists. “You will have the feeling that you are part of the action,” he said. “At Cirque, we never do small things.”

Cirque may be known for its aerial acts and acrobats on teeterboards as much as its non-nonsensical show lyrics but the company has branched out into other areas before, including shows that use music from the Beatles music and characters from the film “Avatar.”

Lamarre said the company’s move into stunt work with “R.U.N” isn’t too far from Cirque’s core strength at making spectaculars. “Right now, we’re looking at stunt people like we look at acrobats,” he said.

The 75-minute “R.U.N” will join six Cirque resident shows in Strip theaters, including “Ka,” ”Michael Jackson ONE,” ”O” and “Zumanity.” But it will be unique in having a car and motorcycle onstage, alongside actors doing daredevil stunts. “It will be a firework of stunts and linked by a story that makes sense,” Lamarre said.

Mark Kennedy is at https://twitter.com/KennedyTwits