|By Tony Pacitti|
The original Star Wars Trilogy has seen its fair share of retellings.
It’s been acted out by a cast of thumbs, pumped full of cute for The Muppet Babies and spoofed, mocked and ripped off more times than anyone can remember at this point.
But thirty years later, after countless viewing and all of these re-imaginings, it’s safe to say that One-Man Star Wars Trilogy is a singularly unique trip to a galaxy far, far away.
Charlie Ross is the man in One-Man Star Wars Trilogy, a bare bones stage show that finds Ross reciting, whistling, pantomiming and spitting through the Original Star Wars trilogy.
|Photo by Jason Woodruff|
Hitting every key scene, Ross zips through familiar dialogue and seamlessly morphs from one character to the next and his attention to detail is astounding. He may not look or sound like Alec Guinness, but he feels like Obi-Wan, nailing the cadence and tone of each line. He sounds the way we all think we do when we do impressions.
Beyond his knack for impersonations, Ross manages to bring the world of Star Wars to life better than you could have ever guessed one prop-free man to be capable of.
Imagine if you will, the enthusiasm and excitement of a little kid acting out the Rebels’ attack of the Death Star, or the Battle of Hoth. Now combine that with the well-honed craft of a professional mime. Ross is so clever about his choices in body language that each of the films’ hallmark starships and vehicles are instantly recognizable to anyone who has seen the movies.
But it isn’t enough to just know the words or to be able to do a hell of an AT-AT–seriously, his AT-AT made me giddy.
Ross, in all of his rubber-faced glory, becomes lovingly exaggerated versions of the characters that Star Wars fans hold so very close to their hearts. He tugs at his crotch and swaggers across the stage when we meet his Han Solo, he lets his face drip as he stomps around like a whiney teenager as Luke. It is in those caricatures and Ross’ commentary that this show really shines. As he makes cracks about Luke’s goofy feathered hair, Vader’s gratuitous force choking and that one general who pronounced Leia’s name wrong you can’t help but feel like you’re not only watching a reenactment of Star Wars, but an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 layered on top of it. It’s what keeps the show from being a novelty in the negative sense of the word. Ross brings a comedic sensibility to material that a lot of people—present company very much include—tend to take far too seriously.
As for the few people on the planet who haven’t seen a Star Wars movie, well, they’re bound to get a bit confused along the way. But it’s a credit to Ross that while the uninitiated might not know what he’s doing with his arms when he’s miming a Y-Wing, he still manages to get the stories across in a way that is universally entertaining. It’s fun to watch him regardless, but lifelong fans will certainly get the most out of it.
For them, Ross offers a fresh way of watching a familiar story.