Nope, not a musical...just a satire.
3 'Star Wars' at warp speed
Actor adds lines to George Lucas' classic trilogy
"One-Man Star Wars Trilogy"
Aug 5, 2005
By Justin Bergman
Originally published August 9, 2005
NEW YORK - When George Lucas released the first of his three Star Wars prequel movies six years ago, some fans grumbled that the special effects masked a lack of character development and plot that took away from the heart of his original intergalactic fairy tale.
Star Wars purists will appreciate Charles Ross. The Canadian actor, starring in the One-man Star Wars Trilogy at the Lamb's Theatre off-Broadway, brings Lucas' three original films back to life in about as low-tech a way as possible. Ross embodies all the characters and provides his own sound effects for the light sabers, spaceships and lasers - cramming all three films into an hour's worth of high-energy, often immensely comical entertainment.
Ross acknowledges having seen the first film in the series some 400 times (it seems likely it was even more). His impersonations, therefore, are dead-on, particularly his chirpy, robotic C-3PO, his whistling R2-D2 and his very James Earl Jonesian Darth Vader. Even casual fans of the movies will recognize some of the more obscure references, such as his take on the long-legged AT-AT Walkers that attack the Rebels on the planet of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.
If you haven't seen the movies, you will be lost.
Ross provides little in the way of narration to accompany his lightning-paced re-creations of the movies, so plot lines sometimes blur and characters seem to morph into one another. Also, in his zeal to make the action scenes lifelike, he occasionally comes off as a tiresome, "look-at-me-watch-me-now!" child, with exploding bombs and whizzing lasers combining to create an awful cacophony.
This is really a minor complaint, though. For all the screeching and diving on the floor, there are equal measures of cutting satire that only a self-professed Star Wars geek could write. Ross is especially brutal in his impersonation of Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker, turning him into an overly earnest, slightly prissy anti-hero. Princess Leia is a clueless shrew. And Han Solo is clearly oversexed, grabbing his crotch and saying "Schwing!" (a famous line from Mike Myers' Wayne's World) when he kisses the princess.
Ross plays up the sometimes corny dialogue from the movies. He throws in his own lines at times, such as the observation Luke makes when Darth Vader (whose voice was provided by black actor James Earl Jones in the films) finally takes off his helmet and reveals himself to his son: "I thought you were black," Luke says deadpan.
Were it not for moments such as these, the One-man Star Wars Trilogy would probably have difficulty rising beyond being a novelty piece. If anything, a retrospective look at such a pop culture phenomenon almost demands more satire to maintain its interest.
After all, it reinforces that film characters that have reached iconic status are also fallible - sometimes badly written and overacted.