At: Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln.
Tickets are $15 - $19, ( 773 ) 935-6100.
Runs through: Feb. 14
We had a bad feeling about it. Surely, any attempt to cram the entire Star Wars Trilogy ( Episodes IV, V and VI, not those annoying snoozefests released as 'prequels' ) into an hour would result in disaster.
Furthermore, how could one person possibly capture all those divine creatures of George Lucas' imagination with any sort of accuracy?
Surely, a one-man, one-hour attempt to do Star Wars could result only in an egregious display of disrespect for our cherished memories of Han Solo, Jabba the Hut, and especially the world's favorite pre-Hannibal Lecter menace, Darth Vader.
Skeptics, Star Wars geeks rejoice. From the Yorkshire-terrier-like Yoda to the persnickety C3PO, Charles Ross successfully takes audiences to a galaxy far, far away in his One Man Star Wars Trilogy.
To fall back on the obvious cliché, the Force is with him. So is, one suspects, Lucas himself. Ross couldn't get away with staging this show all over Canada and the U.S. without obtaining some sort of special copyright rights from Lucasfilms.
As might be expected for a piece wherein roughly five hours of movies are squeezed into an hour, director TJ Dawe keeps the pace moving at warp speed. There are no props, no costumes, and no need for them. One moment our heroes are being crushed in a massive and deadly trash compactor. Next thing you know, they're careening through the endless explosions of a galactic firefight. The action never lets up.
The more familiar one is with the adventures of Luke Skywalker and friends, the more one will appreciate Ross's Trilogy. But that's not to say Star Wars neophytes won't be swept up by the frenetic, zany, death-defying adventuresomness of it all.
The basic story, you may recall, involves Luke Skywalker and his compatriots attempting to rid the universe of the Dark Forces of evil. Along the way, the epic tale moves through marvelously seedy bars where whacky aliens get drunk and play space-age jazz, into the middle of Nazi-like legions of Stormtroopers and through planets being menaced by all manner of nightmarish creatures. We also learn surprising facts about Luke's family, and—naturally—a romance develops between seemingly unlikely lovers.
Ross, maintaining the unstoppable energy of a five-year-old tanked up on Mountain Dew and Twinkies, plays everything and everybody in the story, including the Millennium Falcon.
He is also a one-man symphony of sound effects. From the vibrating white noise of a light saber to the heavy breathing of Darth Vader ( not as easy as it looks ) , to the plaintive wail of Chewbacca, he got the noises down.
He delivers the essence of the key players in a manner that walks a fine line between send-up and homage. Luke is the blonde boy wonder, brash, headstrong—and, as he cries in the final episode, never to work in film again after Star Wars. Leia, cinnamon bun coiffure and all, is feisty and beautiful. Han is a studly wise-acre. Yoda is a backward talking font of Zen-ish wisdom.
Bonus: Before the show starts, the audience can participate in a Star Wars trivia contest and win free Star Wars tattoos.