WHEN Charles Ross set out to do a show in which he would single-handedly tell the story of one of sci-fi’s greatest sagas there were plenty that thought he maybe needed medication.
One thousand performances later and his One-Man Star Wars™ Trilogy is 10 years old and still drawing audiences obsessed with the adventures of Luke Skywalker and chums – as well as those who feel it needed a little chuckle-aided makeover.
Written and performed by Canadian actor Charles – the man also behind One Man Lord Of The Rings – this is an off-Broadway play based on the original, classic Star Wars trilogy of films.
The idea came from its author’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the films, built up from the sheer number of times he watched them as a bored kid.
“I grew up in a remote part of Canada on a farm,” recalls Charles.
“It was hard to get TV reception so I spent a lot of time watching videos of films.
“Everyone in my class at school was Star Wars crazy.
“I watched it a bunch of times when I was a kid and my love of it came from that.”
After premiering in Ontario, the show he devised has visited countless cities since and makes its debut at The Civic, in Barnsley, on September 15.
It even has the hallowed seal of approval from Star Wars legend George Lucas, which seems to have come as a surprise to Charles who said he just ‘needed’ to do the show.
“When I grew up I realised that I knew the films really well. I had all this information in my head and one way of exorcising those demons was to take this show on the road and act it out every night.
“It’s like therapy for anyone with a Star Wars fixation, to rid myself of all this trivia and knowledge and put it into some kind of coherent show.
“Originally I didn’t think the idea would fly and that I couldn’t keep up with the rapid pace of it – to exhaustively cover the whole trilogy in less than an hour isn’t easy.”
So how on Earth, or should that be Death Star, does it work?
Through self-performed sound effects, surprisingly accurate musical scores and word-perfect dialogue, Charles condenses the original trilogy of films into a comedy-filled and energetic show.
Say his people: “Ross’s performance promises to keep the audience in fits of laughter with gags and subtle in-jokes – even throwing some local references into the classic to-and-fro banter of Star Wars exchanges.”
Tickets, £16/£14, are available from 01226 327 000 or on-line at www.barnsleycivic.co.uk