Edinburgh Festival Fringe until 27 August.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…. You know the drill.
Charlie Ross has been performing his One Man Star Wars routine for the better part of a decade now, and while it still gets big laughs at key points, the more familiar it becomes, the more it could do with including edgier critiques of the movies.
Yes, to many the original Star Wars trilogy is untouchable, but Ross peppers his effective comic recreations of the key scenes of the trilogy with the occasional comment on the characters, the style of the movies, and the circumstances under which the trilogy was created and initially received. More of this would make for a sharper show.
On a single viewing the sheer feat of cramming the trilogy into a one-hour, one man performance is all that matters, but if you come back to it having gone past the initial thrill of the piece, it is noticeable that it relies in too straightforward a manner on simply recreating George Lucas’s original material rather than offering a running commentary on the work. While Ross and the show continue to have the tacit approval of Lucasfilm, he’s never going to bite the hand that feeds too hard…
Whether seen with an audience of die hard fans (such as at one of the Celebration conventions) or among a more general audience, the fact that these films are so well known and such a part of everyone’s cultural background means that Ross’s work appears to have no limitations on its shelf life.
There’s just a nagging wish that it could be ever so slightly cleverer…
However, it was great to hear from the man himself that he’ll never touch the prequels!
Verdict: Still an achievement, though lacking a ruthless critical edge that might well raise it up a level…
One Man Star Wars: 7/10
Brian J. Robb