The One-Man Star Wars Trilogy
nytheatre.com review by Michael Criscuolo
August 10, 2005
Charles Ross’s charming new show, One-Man Star Wars Trilogy, is exactly what it says it is: author and actor Ross performs the entire Star Wars trilogy, sans sets, props, or costumes. He plays all the characters, does all the sound effects, and even hums John Williams’s famous music. If this sounds like the ultimate party trick… well, it is. It’s also impressive how well the whole enterprise is pulled off. Die-hard Star Wars fans will obviously get a kick out of it, as will kids and families (of which there were a large number in attendance on the night I went). Casual fans of the films may wonder what the fuss is all about, but they will surely be impressed by Ross’s gusto, conviction, and ingenuity.
Ross and director TJ Dawe have crafted a loving and speedy homage to one of the most beloved franchises in movie history: slightly abridged re-tellings of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi in an hour. His renderings of R2D2, C3PO, Chewbacca, Jabba the Hutt (who sounds notoriously like the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show here), The Emperor, and Darth Vader’s breathing are all right on target. But Ross isn’t content to just pay his faithful respects to the trilogy. He pokes fun at them, too, milking Luke Skywalker’s trademark whine for maximum comic effect, and giving the swaggering Han Solo a crotch grab just for fun. When Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke that a young Jedi named Darth Vader killed Luke’s father, Ross mimes a Pinocchio-type nose growing on him; he voices Chewbacca’s disbelief over not receiving a medal at the end of Star Wars; and the “Schwing!” he gives Luke as a reaction to every kiss he receives from Princess Leia—even after he learns that they’re brother and sister!—is priceless (those who are unfamiliar with this reference should rent Wayne’s World immediately).
Ross also gives equal time to the trilogy’s endless array of technology and supporting characters, with equally hilarious results. Highlights include the destruction of an Imperial walker from Empire; Admiral Ackbar’s declaration that “It’s a trap!” as the rebel fleet is about to attack the fully operational Death Star in Jedi (a bit that struck the audience as so riotous on the night I attended that Ross had to repeat it about six more times before he could continue the show); and the revelation of the only character in the entire trilogy who mispronounces Princess Leia’s name. There are, of course, tons more surprises than those, and to spoil them here would just be rude.
“The Force is strong with this one,” Darth Vader says of Luke late in Star Wars. The same can be said of Ross and his One-Man Star Wars Trilogy. It is good, clean fun that will leave one with a smile on their face and a bounce in their step. May The Force continue to be with him, and with all of you, too—always.