Review – One Man Star Wars Trilogy, Derngate, Northampton, 3rd September 2011

One Man Star Wars TrilogyI’d heard about this one man show several years ago and always thought it sounded like it would be a hoot. It’s now over ten years since Charles Ross converted the three films into just over an hour, and his homage to George Lucas has toured the world and brought an extra dimension to the originals.

The show is actually everything you think and hope it might be. No pre-show kerfuffle, as soon as he hits the stage, the meter is running and we’re into the first film. And it’s all extremely funny. Personally I’m not a great aficionado of the films; I’ve actually only seen them properly once each, when they came out. So I probably haven’t seen them at all for the best part of the last thirty years. Yet it’s amazing how the stories and indeed the dialogue comes back to you.

Charles Ross as Yoda Charles Ross gives a huge physical commitment to the show. No need for him to go to the gym, he runs about the stage taking on all the memorable scenes, all the voices, very cleverly suggesting their different characters from their mannerisms and appearance, and he leaves you agog at his ability to suggest the full screen experience. No vocal chord is left unchallenged.

I think you’d get more out of the show if you know the films like the back of your hand. There were clearly a couple of people who came into this category, and the laughter of recognition that constantly emanated from their part of the audience was a delight to listen to in itself. Despite our unfamiliarity with the films, both Mrs C and I really enjoyed the show, found it very funny, very inventive and found Charles Ross himself admirable in his attention to detail and his obvious love for what he’s doing. His personality comes across very nicely at odd moments, when he occasionally stops for a sideways chat about the performance. At the end he takes us into his confidence for a little post show chat too, which we both found rather charming.

Danny Pensive If you’re thinking an hour show does not an evening’s entertainment make, fear not, as before all that there is an excellent set by John Cooper in his guise as Danny Pensive, the quietly observant duffel-coated Sunderland diarist who lives with his Nan. It’s a funny act and works well as a warm-up. Include an interval and post show chat and you’ve got more than two hours’ entertainment. Touring now, highly recommended, particularly if you’re a Jedi.