"Star Wars" came to life on stage at the American Theater on Wednesday night. All that was missing were sets, costumes, props, music, special effects, and an army of actors.
Charles Ross' "One Man Star Wars Trilogy" has returned to Piccolo Fringe for the fourth year. Ross spends the show's hourlong running time bouncing around the stage, acting out every major "Star Wars" character (and plenty of minor ones), miming spaceships and enthusiastically humming the score the entire way. He also finds time to throw in some affectionate jabs at the trilogy's more ridiculous aspects.
It's a show clearly meant for those as passionate about the films as Ross is. While fans of the series will see an epic battle between good and evil in Ross' flailing limbs, those less familiar might simply see a man in a black jumpsuit running around making noises. Ross even took time between sections to gently tease audience members who had never seen the films.
Ross' greatest skill lies in his ability to recreate sound effects with startling accuracy. His imitation of Darth Vader's labored breathing is realistic enough to send nostalgic shivers down the spine of any self-respecting "Star Wars" geek. Less consistent are his vocal imitations. Some are instantly recognizable. Others, such as his Yoda, are surprisingly generic.
Despite attempting accuracy, it was when Ross briefly went off the "Star Wars" script that the show was its funniest. The biggest laugh came when Ross, as Luke, reacted with shock that underneath the dark helmet and James Earl Jones voice, Darth Vader was white. Ross' clear love for "Star Wars" gives him the ability to poke fun at the series, and the crowd was more than happy to laugh along.
The show continues June 10-12 p.m. at the American Theater.