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Bliss in a tent: ‘Fuerza Bruta’ brings a fresh feel to the Strip

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Fuerza Bruta
Photo: Bryan Steffy / Courtesy

Editor's note: On April 3, Fuerza Bruta and its producers announced that Sunday, April 7 will be its final show at the Excalibur.

There’s a VIP ticket to Fuerza Bruta (for $115), but it only includes a drink, some sort of gift and access to a VIP lounge, wherever that is. This show, presented twice nightly five days a week inside a tent set up in a small Excalibur parking lot, is all about general admission. You’ll walk through the sprawling medieval kingdom-themed casino past the Johnny Rockets burger shack and out to Las Vegas Boulevard, then into this temporary structure that makes Absinthe’s Caesars Palace tent feel like the Four Seasons.

There are no seats. You’re on your feet on the pavement for the duration of the show, and it’s likely you’ll be scooted to a different standing space several times as performers, crew members and production elements roll by.

It’s very clear, before it even begins, that Fuerza Bruta is entirely different from any other show on the Strip. It’s also one of the most thrilling, soothing, uplifting and jubilant things to land in Las Vegas in a long time.

A true interactive theater experience created in Buenos Aires by Diqui James and composer Gaby Kerpel in 2002, Fuerza Bruta has been performed for more than 6 million spectators in more than 34 countries. James also co-founded De La Guarda, a similar if slightly more acrobatic seat-less show that toured for 13 years and stopped in Las Vegas at the Rio in 2000.

The Vegas version of Fuerza Bruta is co-produced by the principal promoter for Cirque du Soleil shows in South America, which makes sense considering these productions are kindred spirits with lots in common, including international accessibility, avant-garde leanings and music without language.

But where the average Cirque show is precisely plotted, Fuerza Bruta is a creative and cathartic free-for-all. Whether celebratory or spooky, it’s all emotion, with just enough narrative for everyone to understand and relate. When its feisty cast trashes its stage, furiously throwing and kicking everything out of the way so there’s room to dance, you’ll want to join in. When the walking man in the white suit explodes through the walls he encounters, you might get a boost of steadfast courageousness, too.

If you’ve heard about the part where a Lucite pool containing lights and liquid and playful women floats down from above, allow me to endorse its utterly hypnotic effects. The Strip has a tendency to induce delirium, but this is the kind of dream you want to have: warm and beautiful and unexpected. You don’t have to dance, but you can.

Fuerza Bruta kicked off its planned six-month engagement on March 7, and it’s hard to tell if it could extend that run or if that was never part of the plan. The Excalibur seems like an unlikely home, so it’s possible this is a bit of a tryout for a more permanent Vegas spot, perhaps at a different MGM Resorts property. A Vegas-style evolution would be an intriguing proposition, but don’t wait. This show exists only to bring you joy, and why would you want to miss that?

FUERZA BRUTA Wednesday-Sunday, 7 & 9:30 p.m., $73. Excalibur, 702-597-7600.

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Brock is an award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently leads entertainment ...

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