Chicago Theatre Review
The Force is Strong in this one
The One Man Star Wars Trilogy – Broadway in Chicago
A long time ago, on a Canadian farm, far far away, Charles Ross spent his youthful days watching Star Wars Trilogy, over and over and over again. As a grown adult he took to the road carrying, Homer like, the story of this great saga in his tongue and teeth. Using mime, acapella, banter, and a healthy dose of loving cynicism, he Cirque du Soleil’s his way through an hour and a half of hilarity and nostalgia.
It’s not a show to take someone who doesn’t know Star Wars intimately. Ross races through the story at a breakneck pace, sacrificing articulation and sometimes cohesion ( there are only so many times and space ship can be shot down, “BOOSH!” before it all runs together) at the alter of humor and brevity. That said, Ross’s characterizations are nothing short brilliant, His Jabba the Hutt impression in particular being a master stroke of showing much by telling little. He also has a delightful way of picking bones with the trilogy, all fitting from one who has been in that world too long. From Luke’s persistent feather-haired whininess to Leia being the only female in the film, to a long conversation, as multiple characters, about why everything in that far away galaxy is measured in the metric system, is delivered with panache and an askance glance to us. And when the moment calls for it the headlong rush can pause to leave way for a somber moment, almost immediately undercut by another joke.
Ross takes excellent care of his audience. Each installment of the saga is sandwiched between a nice bit of audience banter, as Ross tells the story of how he came to this unlikely career as a Professional Pretender (and what actor isn’t, really?) as well as finding out who he’s sharing the house with tonight: apologizing for projectile spitting into the beverage of a front row sitter, giving thanks for a particularly boisterous laugh. The One Man Star Wars Trilogy is a fun evening. It’s not edifying or illuminating, but the moments when, with nothing but mime and a light change, Ross can conjure a double sunset on Tatooine with feathered haired of a moisture farm boy tossing in the breeze, are nothing short of magic.
Reviewed by Ben Kemper
Broadway Playhouse, 175 E Chestnut St inside the Water Tower Place complex
4/19-April 24 7:30, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00.
Tickets $35 to $65
For more information on this and other shows please visit TheaterinChicago.com