We’ve had musical theatre, we’ve even had chic flic theatre but now it seems nerd theatre has truly landed.
Last year Canadian actor Charlie Ross impressed Bury St Edmunds audiences with his One Man Lord Of The Rings, a condensing of Peter Jackson’s opus into just over an hour. Now he returns to the Theatre Royal with the predecessor of that show, a one man compression of the three original Star Wars films into an hour.
The challenge to recreate these iconic films – perhaps some of the most visually impressive, effect filled, celluloid moments on stage – is a tough one. When you realise that the show is one man, no props, no costume and no set it seems an impossible task. When in the hands of Charlie Ross, however, it turns into a tour de-force of physical theatre and comedy.
For fans the material is instantly recognisable, conjuring up images of the classic films. The show however also adds a further dimension to the trilogy, Ross’s comic creations adding a new, surreal and beautifully observed layer. Luke’s flyaway hair and constant whining, the Skywalkers’ frankly incestuous kissing and Vader’s cross-racial vocals all coming in for spot on lampooning.
The set pieces of each of the movies are here, as are the characters but with a twist and fans will never be able to watch the movies in quite the same light again. Ross obviously has a deep affection of George Lucas’ work but isn’t afraid to gently mock. Watching Ross work is like watching a masterclass in physical theatre and it’s exhausting just to watch.
Although its inspiration cost multi million dollars and an entire army of special effects experts, this version of the Star Wars canon shows that for effective entertainment all you need at the end of the day is a strong story. Oh and talent and skill, and in the talent department Charlie Ross is world class. We’ve now seen two cinematic trilogies from Ross and based on this can only hope that his movie going inspires more comedic creations.