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One Man Star Wars

Lynne Lancaster

Endorsed by Lucasfilm, this remarkable show is required viewing for all would-be Jedis.
One Man Star Wars

Endorsed by Lucasfilm, this remarkable show is required viewing for all Star Wars fans/would-be Jedis.

An amazing theatrical tour de force, One Man Star Wars is a solo (yes solo!) performance of the first three Star Wars films: Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi; written and performed by Canadian actor Charles Ross – you might have seen his fabulous One Man Lord of the Rings, which has also toured here.

Ross, who has been performing this unique take on Star Wars since 2001, gives an incredibly energetic performance featuring an amazing range of voices and accents, a very fit and flexible body, and a most expressive face. He looks a bit like Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, and wears a grey tracksuit that is vaguely futuristic, spaceship team member-ish in design. The lighting design is sensational.

The show is performed with love, enjoyment and gusto. Mime, dance, singing and acrobatics are included as are various movie in-jokes (e.g. about Jar Jar Binks). All the main characters and the famous quotes are there, delineated by posture, voice, hands etc – Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker,  Hans Solo, Princess Leia, 3PO and R2D2, Chewbacca, Yoda, Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi etc, as well as Ewoks, droids etc. His quivering Jabba the Hut, testy Yoda, and scary, hunched Emperor are extraordinary.

The whizzing battle/flight scenes are terrific, and the dramatic explosion of the Death Star is brilliantly done. I also liked the ‘stuck in the garbage dump’ scene. The fight between Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi is another highlight, as is Vader’s death scene; tense, powerful and marvellously done.  

Ross’ editing is tight and he has an incredible ear and eye for detail. The banter between Han Solo and Princess Leia is very clever, while Luke Skywalker is depicted as even whinier than he is in the movies. Large swaths of dialogue are hurriedly run through as ‘exposition, exposition, exposition’ or ‘blah blah blah’; jokes are made about Mark Hamill's acting; various plot holes and inconsistencies are exposed and discussed; and when it is revealed Luke has a sister, Ross says 'of course it's Princess Leia, she's the only woman in the film!'

Rating: 4 ½ stars out of 5 

One Man Star Wars

Written & performed by Charles Ross

Running time: 90 mins (approx)

 

Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House

17 – 21 July

 

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Lynne Lancaster is a Sydney based arts writer who has previously worked for Ticketek, Tickemaster and the Sydney Theatre Company. She has an MA in Theatre from UNSW, and when living in the UK completed the dance criticism course at Sadlers Wells, linked in with Chichester University.

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