The One Man Star Wars Trilogy has been celebrating its 10th UK anniversary with a tour, as previously mentioned, and I was able to go along with my brother to see Charlie Ross perform his show in Reading (Oooh, glamorous Reading!).
The show is actually in two parts consisting of an opening act – comedian Danny Pensive – followed by Charlie Ross’ performance. Danny Pensive was funny and he interacted well with the audience, including some shouty little boys who decided the show was a personal conversation between themselves and him. His jumpy, intentionally awkward style of comedy helped set the evening up for a fast paced show and the little songs and cue card jokes had the audience laughing away. Unfortunately the intermission between Danny Pensive and Charlie Ross cooled things down a little, I think it would have been preferable to either have a shortened intermission or for things to roll straight into the One Man Star Wars Trilogy – that would have helped to keep the energy up and left the audience more receptive to Ross’ manic performance style.
Both my brother and I found it took us about ten to fifteen minutes to be able to properly immerse ourselves in the show and we found that there were several times during the performance where this was broken. To get through his abbreviated versions of all three films, Ross often speaks incredibly fast, which made it difficult to understand what he was saying sometimes. and therefore losing the plot line, but not know which scene he was performing.
The funniest moments came from Ross’ observational asides on the films and it’s a shame that he didn’t concentrate on filling the show with more of those rather than some (overly long) physical acting of the various space battles. One of the more impressive features of his performance was his vocal abilities – his change of speech patterns or accents made even the most minor characters nearly instantly recognisable. Add in his skilful physical acting, a simple placement of his hands or change in the way he carries his body, and Ross easily portrayed many of the Star Wars characters, both living or mechanical (his ATAT impression was rather cute) Ross broke up the trilogy by taking a few minutes between the `films` to speak as himself to the audience. We learnt more about how One Man Star Wars Trilogy started out and how he eventually became part of the Lucas Films family. He interacted with the audience a bit and spoke a little of his other One Man Shows before launching himself into the next parts of the performance.
Overall the show was entertaining and I’m glad that I got to see it, although a theatre venue may not have been the best setting for a performance of this kind. The One Man Star Wars Trilogy has its roots in performing for a small audience at comedy and fringe festivals, and that’s probably where it’s best to see it performed. It very much feels like something you should see in a smaller, more intimate venue rather than in a large theatre where the one or two hundred members of the audience who bought tickets are sat spread out from the stage. It also means that you’ll be paying theatre prices for a fringe show, and although it shouldn’t detract from the enjoyment, it inevitably does.
Seeing the show prompted an interesting discussion between my brother and I about people’s different perceptions of the films and the different things they take away from watching them. We were both surprised at the inclusion of some scene’s in Ross’ performance that we wouldn’t necessarily have deemed important and the exclusion of ones that we had grown up feeling were stand out moments in the trilogy. One thing we both immediately agreed on is that Ross deserves a hell of a lot of praise for being able to perform such a high energy show night after night and for more years than some audience members had been alive!
If you ever get the chance to see Ross perform in a smaller venue, I highly recommend that you go along.
Rating: 3 ½ out of 5 stars.
GS Blogger: Fia @madame_fifi