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theater review: ...One Man Star Wars... Highly Concentrated Fun

No, It...s Not the Musical, But Another Unique Star Wars Rendition

By Natania Antler

“One Man Star Wars”

Written by Charles Ross

Directed by T.J. Dawe

Starring Charles Ross

Nov. 8–13 at the Wilbur Theater

As soon as he came out on stage, we knew we were in for a treat. When Charles Ross in “One Man Star Wars” began to mime the words that fly across the screen in Episode IV and hum the theme song, the audience immediately warmed up. Over the course of an hour, Ross acts out the entire original Star Wars trilogy, with aid from nothing except knee pads, a bottle of Poland Springs, and some creative lighting. I knew something of what to expect from this show because I saw Ross do “One Man Lord of the Rings” last year, but even still I was blown away by his energy, creativity, and vocal range.

Ross plays the scenes where Darth Vader intimidates and kills various Empire generals well. One would think it would be distracting to have a guy playing many characters at once, but with a radical change in voice, blocking, and posture with each switch, one could mostly keep track of what was going on. That said, this play is not for someone who hasn’t seen “Star Wars.” I had trouble following at times because I don’t know the “Star Wars” movies past one or two recent viewings. This made the show a bit more strenuous than I would have liked. On the other hand, I’m much more familiar with the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, thus Ross’ rendition of that was much easier to follow and more fun.

While Ross remains true to the “Star Wars” plot, he brilliantly slips in jokes right and left. One gets used to one guy playing all the characters. We weren’t laughing at him because of these antics, but because of the many jokes he slipped in. Some were only obvious to people who knew the movies well, but many were accessible to all. Highlights of the show included the Luke and Darth Vader spaceship chase scene around the Death Star, the walker takedown on Hoth, and of course Vader’s death scene.

“One Man Star Wars” had but a brief run in Boston, but Ross will be playing in New York for a while. If you so happen to be in the neighborhood where he’s performing, and you’re a “Star Wars” fan, I urge you to go see this play. At only an hour, its highly concentrated energy will leave you with a smile on your face.