Review: One-man ‘Star Wars’ hilarious 

It's no secret that filmmaker George Lucas is a genius. The man created "Star Wars," for crying out loud, and maybe some other things in between.

Or is Canadian actor Charles Ross the genius?

After Tuesday's performance of his genial stage show "One-Man Star Wars Trilogy," even the most die-hard fans might start leaning their light sabers in favor of Ross.

As the show's title astutely suggests, Ross is only one man who takes his audience through all three original "Star Wars" flicks ("Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi") in just under an hour.

In the process, he reenacts the films' most famous scenes, impersonates characters, sings the movies' famous score, and supplies all those famous special effects that millions of dollars and science took years to develop.

Ross commands the ships, battles good, battles evil, and breathlessly calls it a day.

How does he do it?

Well, very quickly, for starters.

Dressed in a black mechanic's jumpsuit, sans props or set design, Ross flies around the stage, rarely, if ever stopping, racing through scenes at breakneck speed, and effortlessly managing to unfold each movie's respective plot — without really missing a thing.

(Courtesy photo) Charles Ross's one-man "Star Wars" is licensed by George Lucas.

The actor puts his own sardonic stamp on the whole shebang, candidly and smartly filling in much of the plot's subtext, drawing out the iconic films' sillier aspects, and boiling down pop culture's messiah to the sum of its parts.

Luke Skywalker is reduced to the sniveling brat we always knew he was, Hans Solo's a jock, Princess Leia, well, she's the only woman in the films.

Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3P0 and the sea-like creatures commanding ships are expertly brought to life by Ross. Even those folks who aren't experts of the films (yes, they exist) immediately get what's going on.

It is the antithesis of a director's cut — efficient and economical. It's also brilliant and hilarious.

Ross' concept is kind of like what happens when a child gets a really fancy toy but prefers to play with the box for hours. Ross is the box — telling us everything we need to know in the few minutes it takes to read that box's exterior packaging.

The show makes one wonder why Lucas is going digital; he could save teems of money simply by hiring Ross. Well, it turns out that the actor is licensed by Lucas; he's even been hired on occasion to perform his "One Man Star Wars Trilogy" at Lucas events.

The show has developed quite the following since its debut in 2001 in Toronto; Ross has won over audiences in Edinburgh, Dublin and Dubai, attesting to the universal language of "Star Wars."

It's no surprise — the show is clever and entertaining for die-hard fans and non-fans alike.



One-Man Star Wars Trilogy

Post Street Theatre, 450 Post St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 5 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays; closes March 11

Tickets: $37-$47

Contact: (415) 771-6900,

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Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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