April 21, 2006

One Man Star Wars Review

Serona and I had a great date last night. We went to see One Man Star Wars in downtown Minneapolis at the Pantages theater. I surprised him with front row seats and he surprised me by not asking us to wear our full Jedi costumes! I was ready to but I must admit it was nice just being a normal fan instead of the full costumed fans we usually are! Plus being in the front row it was nice to just keep a low profile, a simple Star Wars t-shirt for him and a "I'm blogging this" t-shirt for me instead of full Jedi with lightsabers. So I said I was blogging this, so here you go.

For those unfamiliar with this show it is one man, Charles Ross, who acts out the entire original trilogy on stage. He is dressed all in black and with the exception of the use of some lighting tricks that is it, him all in black and his amazing talents acting out the trilogy, music, characters, lines and events from ANH, ESB, and ROTJ. You can see clips at his website, where you can also order tickets to upcoming shows.

We completely enjoyed the show. He was very funny and as fans who know the movies very well we were able to understand even the little things he did and the significance of facial expressions or seemingly small actions. I was thankful we were in the front row because we could see these little actions (like when he quivered his lip to represent Mon Monthma)and he ended up the floor of the stage often as well so we got the full experience.

Would I recommend the show? To someone who really likes star wars, hands down I would. You will laugh and you will enjoy it and you will get it all. He was very funny and captured the essence of the films well. To someone who sort of likes the films, I still would but would not call it a must see like I would for big fans. He was very entertaining and very funny, we laughed the whole night. However, the show is short (one hour total) and not cheap so you would need to consider that.

More specifics. The show was an hour, about 20 minutes on each film I would estimate. At our show he also ended with coming back out on stage and sharing some of his experiences and words of encouragement for the audience. Both Serona and I felt his strongest film was definitely "A New Hope" he really captured the characters and the events well. My only wish was that he represented R2D2 with atleast a quick sound at the awards ceremony at the end but he did do justice for Chewie which all fans want to see. We also agreed that the weakest of the three (though still good) was "Empire Strikes Back" - I think that film must be really hard to capture in this sort of shorter format because so much of the film is back and forth banter between the characters that builds and builds.

He definitely did the characters well and had funny ways to cue you to the character and represent who they were. I thought he did an excellent job with Tarkin and Luke. Serona really enjoyed his representation of Han and the attention he paid to detail (like when Luke throws down his lightsaber during the battle in ROTJ). We literally laughed for an hour. So if you are looking for a fun evening filled with good laughs and Star Wars I recommend One Man Star Wars by Charles Ross.

The show is pretty family friendly too, like the Star Wars films themselves. There are a few moments and gestures you might need to explain or deal with for younger kids like his way of representing Han's macho personality (as he grabs a certain part of his body briefly) and his way of expressing Han and Lukes emotions after Leia kisses them. Still I think it would be fine for kids to see. I would not bring my own because they are just too young to appreciate a single actor all in black doing the films and would miss too much. However, I would say a child around 10-12 age probably would appreciate and enjoy and understand what was going on. Much younger than that and you may need to explain things and miss enjoying it yourselves.

The demographic of our particular show was pretty varied. We are in our early thirties, sitting next to us were two guys either late 40's early 50's, a group of teenagers came together, three rows back was a guy in a mowhawk, parents were there with their kids, a few people in their 60's and a bunch in their 20's and 30's. The 501st had several storm troopers and others in costume greeting us at the theater. Of course the fans of star wars are a pretty diverse demographic as well.

At the end of the show Charles Ross came back out on stage and talked about how One Man Star Wars was born and encouraged us to pursue our strange hobbies and passions. He talked about performing at Celebration 3, big star wars convention a few months before the release of Revenge of the Sith. Having gone to Celebration 2 I could completely envision what he was expressing when he said he got to perform to the perfect audience for his show. Several thousand people, all big enough fans of Star Wars to show up at the convention, many costumed. While I imagine that would have been a fun, and loud venue to see him in, I am glad we saw him in this venue. I mean we had front row seats - which are pretty hard to come by at Celebration!

A great night for us. A recommendation for you. He is a talented man and the show is worth your money in my humble opinion. But then again we do this for fun!


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