Reprinted from late editionsof yesterday's Globe.
We've all been to parties where the hosts bring Junior out to play a little something on the piano. The wrong notes mount up and not only do the parents keep beaming, they ask Junior to play another. And another. And you wonder, ''Is this ever going to end? Can I get out of here without offending both the parents and Junior?"
Among the many parts that Charles Ross plays in ''One-Man Star Wars Trilogy" is that of Junior. In re-enacting the original three ''Star Wars" films, Ross runs around the Wilbur Theatre as if it were the asylum in ''Marat/Sade," annoyingly trumpeting John Williams music and coughing up mediocre sound effects.
That's the good part. The black-clad performer has no discernible talent as a writer. He settles, for example, for obvious jokes about Mark Hamill's inability to forge a post-''Star Wars" career as well as the cosmic silliness of Yoda. As for the acting, his Obi-Wan Kenobi sounds more like Peter Cushing than Alec Guinness, his Han Solo more like Kiefer Sutherland than Harrison Ford, and his Darth Vader more like John Gielgud than James Earl Jones. His Princess Leia? Don't ask.
And playing the part of the proud parents? That would be the appreciative Wilbur Theatre audience. Ross, 31, devoted much of his young life to watching the first three ''Star Wars" films on videotape in Canada, and many in last night's audience apparently have followed George Lucas's mythology fairly closely themselves, judging from their knowledge of ''Star Wars" arcana. I've seen each of the films only once, which is quite enough for one lifetime, thank you.
Not that the first films, which of course are the second part of the sextet, are without merit. Mythologist Joseph Campbell appreciated Lucas's ability to recast universal archetypes, and the action segments are exciting enough, if that's what you're looking for.
But Ross's performance is neither an homage nor a satire. It's a silly, prolonged act of condensation. He runs around the stage with his arms opened wide to simulate starcraft laser fire. He flaps them up and down in parallel lines playing Jabba the Hutt. He has only a handful of facial expressions.
Ross does have energy, though. That and a deep-seated knowledge of the three films seems to be enough to get you a young audience who'll make such a venture salable to producers. So if you, too, can't get enough of ''Star Wars," you'll probably get a kick out of what's going on at the Wilbur Theatre. Otherwise you might want to search for a theatrical galaxy far, far away.
Ed Siegel can be reached at email@example.com.