You know it’s going to be a great show when you walk up the Bluma Appel Theatre and are greeted by Stormtroopers from the 501st Legion. The One-Man Star Wars Trilogy is written and performed by British Columbia’s own Charles Ross, who studied theatre at the University of Victoria.
Having never been to a one-man show, I had no clue what I was in for. To my pleasant surprise, I was blown away by Ross’s showmanship in One-Man Star Wars Trilogy. With nothing but a bare stage, an all-black jumpsuit, his body and voice, Ross masterfully brings Star Wars Episodes IV, V, and VI to life. The show begins with Ross singing the theme to 20th Century Fox and saying, “There go the yellow words describing the plot of the movie before,” and the audience bursts out with laughter.
It was incredible to see how he differentiated between the main characters with voices, changes in body language and expressions. His portrayal of Luke Skywalker was the perfect combination of teenage angst and rebellion, complete with a whiny voice and drawn out actions. For Princess Leia, Ross would pucker his lips and cup his ears with his hands to represent her famous hairdo, while adding a distinct swagger to the cool and rebellious Han Solo by lowering his voice down a few notches.
Unique lighting was used to depict scene transitions and character changes, like red lighting for Darth Vader. Shadows were also created to depict Yoda’s swamp. One of my favourite moments from the show was when a single spotlight shone on a disco ball in the ceiling, illuminating the audience with a glittering light and mimicking the huge explosion from Episode IV.
Ross winks to the audience and uses his own brand of humour that pokes fun at certain tropes or plot points in the movie. For example, Ross pokes fun at the scene when Leia and Luke discover they are siblings, telling the audience that if he learned anything from Star Wars, it’s to never kiss your sister like that. He does it again when Vader asks Luke to take his helmet off because Vader is dying, and after doing so, Luke exclaims, “But I thought you were black?” poking fun at how James Earl Jones voiced Vader, but didn’t portray him in the film.
There are plenty of amazing things I can rave about after watching this show, like his incredible Wookiee sounds, the way he played Jabba the Hutt by using his forearms to depict Jabba’s giant mouth, and the movie-quality R2D2 beeps and bleeps.
At one point, Ross had issues with his microphone, and took a break after the first episode to fix it while talking to the audience, which I thought was outstanding. He cares about putting on the best show possible, and about fostering a connection with the audience even more so. He took a poll to see how many audience members have seen any, all, or none of the films, and put out a disclaimer saying, “Please do not judge Star Wars based on what you see here tonight.” He even questioned whether the fans that had never seen the films were here for art’s sake, and joked that it’s a sad day when his show counts as art.
In case you couldn’t tell from my glowing review, I highly recommend the One-Man Star Wars Show, and will be keeping my eye out for Ross’s upcoming Pride and Prejudice One-Man Show.
Starvox Entertainment's One-Man Star Wars Show is on at the Bluma Appel Theatre until Sunday May 1. Keep an eye out for Ross’s other upcoming one-man shows, including The Lord of the Rings and Batman.