Do you remember when you were a kid and everything was exciting? You would walk out of a movie theater, watching brain stupefying action for two hours, and your imagination would be so ignited from seeing a costumed hero punch a costumed villain that you would describe the film in one sugar-fueled breath to anyone that would listen. That’s probably the most accurate way to describe the spirit of comedian Charles Ross’ show One Man Star Wars.
In this one hour screed, Ross burns through the entirety of the original trilogy (Episodes IV, V, and VI, unless you pretend like the prequels never happened) from the legendary opening title crawl to the climactic final duel between Luke and Vader. Ross, as you should guess by now, plays every character across the space opera’s huge cast. His R2-D2 impression (which consists of him ducking and whistling) and his Admiral Ackbar impression (which consists of him covering his eyes and yelling “it’s a trap” three times in a row) are some standout moments that keep coming back.
On stage it looks like a madman is going through a fast-forwarded Star Wars inspired schizophrenic episode … but in a good way. When Ross impersonates the classic battles, like the fight on Hoth at the beginning of Empire Strikes Back, he’s pretty much flailing his arms and making explosion noises, then throwing in Star Wars dialogue to let the audience know where he is. He does all of the music (yes, even the classic John Williams theme) by mouth, pretends to be AT-STs getting destroyed by Ewoks, and has an infectious fun on stage that quickly reaches the rest of the audience.
The crowd at our showing seemed crazy for it. Fans of Star Wars were quoting the movies along with Ross and laughing at every detail that was included in the distilled rant, like Luke’s feathered hair in A New Hope.
Ross took time to throw in some original jokes to mix. The one that got the best response was near the end when Luke defeats Vader and the masked villain asks him to remove the famous mask. Ross’ Luke is surprised at what he sees. “I thought you were black,” he says. Ross responds to his own comment as Darth Vader, saying, “that’s James Earl Jones.”
On paper, it sounds too crazy, but what sells every second of it is Ross’ undying enthusiasm. His fandom is apparent and is also his greatest tool.
Admittedly, there’s a niche market here. One Man Star Wars is fun for fans of the series at any level, but the mega fans will be the ones that get the most enjoyment out of it. I really dig what Ross is doing with all of his one man shows at Piccolo (One Man Stranger Things, One Man Dark Knight, One Man Pride & Prejudice). And if they’re all as entertaining as this one, I’ll be a return customer.