Charlie Ross brought his One Man Star Wars Trilogy to Ottawa’s Centrepointe Theatre Wednesday night. It was a special performance to fundraise for the 20th Ottawa Fringe Festival. The play debuted on the Fringe circuit in 2001 and has since grown into a Lucasfilm-licensed production.
It’s impossible to review the show without the disclaimer that I have never seen any of the original Star Wars movies in their entirety. Although my main familiarity with the saga comes from pop culture references, it was still an entertaining and truly impressive experience.
It was exactly what it promised – 75 minutes of Ross reenacting the original trilogy, alone on an empty stage with no props. He jumped quickly and easily from one character to the next, with stellar voice acting distinguishing them. When he wasn’t rattling off dialogue, he was making spot-on sound effects with his own voice or humming the iconic musical cues that surely stirred the hearts of every fan in the theatre.
After all, the show was really a tribute to movies which have captured the hearts and minds of viewers all around the world for decades. I’m sure many fans pretended to fight with make-believe light sabers when they were children, and Ross embraced that youthful enthusiasm and had fun with every scene.
It was a comedic show and Ross delivered some hilarious impressions, but it was his engagement with the audience that was the biggest success. He not only chatted with the crowd between acts, but also cracked jokes throughout that were delivered so incredibly in-character you could almost miss them if you weren’t keeping up.
In the end, the night wasn’t about one man showing off his movie memorization skills; it was his way of letting a whole theatre full of strangers embrace their beloved movies with him.