Regional Reviews: San Francisco
The Force is With Charles Ross in his One-Man Star Wars Trilogy
Talented and energetic Charles Ross has brought his one-person show, One-Man Star Wars Trilogy, to the Post Street Theatre where it will play through March 11th. This artist gives a hilarious, high energy, nonstop blast of three of the Star Wars films. He does it all, including the music, sound effects and characters, in seventy minutes.
Even if you have never seen any of the Star Wars films, you will find this young actor's frenzied recitation of the first three classic movies very entertaining. Ross has been doing this gig since opening in Toronto in 2001. It has been a great success from Vancouver to New York, Chicago and London. In fact, Ross says that he was in Dubai last month and there were fans all dressed up in Star Wars garb. He goes off to Australia for a month following this engagement and then back to London where he has a huge fan base.
Charles Ross, who also wrote the script, starts by using his extraordinary vocal cords in depicting the famous 20th Century Fox musical opening, even the drums, to great effect. He then launches into the familiar music, accompanying it with comments such as "there go the yellow words, describing the plot of the entire movie." His first segment features the battle scenes between the forces of evil and the Star Troopers, with amazing sound effects. He throws himself about the stage with lightning speed pretending to be a spaceship. He mimics all of the battle scenes in childlike fashion. Admittedly, it goes on a tad too long. It probably could have been clearer if he had established the leading characters such as Luke and Darth Vader for people who were not acquainted with these famous characters.
Once the battle scene is over, this brilliant artist takes on the roles of not only Luke Skywalker, with his exasperating goofy voice, but Chewbacca, with those strange animal sounds and Darth Vader with his great wheeze. Ross is first rate with his voices of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Han Solo, Jabba and even Princess Leia. He pulls everything off in a Monty Python bit of theatrical silliness. You can't help thinking of the great Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams who do wonderful voice impersonations. Ross's portrayals of R2-D2 with a great Mayfair English accent and C-3PO's beeps are instantly recognizable.
The performer throws some side-splitting zingers into the frantic mix of voices and action. In the wonderful scene between Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi toward the end, when Luke realizes that Darth Vader is actually his father, he asks of the sage person, "Why didn't you tell me?" and Obi-Wan Kenobi replies "I forgot." The last scene of the frantically paced show is hilarious. When Luke in the big fight scene with Darth Vader sees the villain's real face he states, "I thought you were black." Even Ross's remarks to the audience at the end are priceless ("That's my last line in the trilogy," as Mark Hamill playing Luke. "I'll never work in film again").
Ross, dressed only in a jumpsuit, is hilariously brilliant. He has impressive skill in his movements. This is highly recommended for Star Wars fans. Even those who have little knowledge of the George Lucas films will be impressed by this actor.
One-Man Star Wars Trilogy plays through March 11 at the Post Street Theatre, 450 Post Street, San Francisco. For tickets call 415-771-6900 or go to www.tickemaster.com. For more information go to www.poststreettheatre.com.