Last Friday I was invited to check out a stage show adapting the biggest franchise in entertainment history. ‘Star Wars Saga in 60 Minutes’ says everything you need to know. This is a live show that tells the epic and far reaching tale present in all six Star Wars films. That’s twelve hours rolled into one. I know we give George Lucas a lot of crap for what he’s done over the past few years but a lot of credit has to be given to the guy who not only allows this to take place (if you’ve seen the things LucasFilm has shut down in recent years it would surprise you to see this exist) but actually endorses it. Rightly so, this thing is awesome.
“SWi60” plays out like a wonderful inside joke for Star Wars fans who know exactly why they love and also why they dislike parts of the franchise. They have taken all the best, and worse, bits spanning six films, and maybe the Christmas Special, and highlighted them all in amusing fashion. Each film gets about 10 minutes and they are consistently funny. From trashcan R2-D2 to pool noodle Force Lightning (You’ll love that part I promise) they’ve done a remarkable job paying homage to the great movies on a thrift store budget.
While it may look like something my nephew might put together with stuff laying around my sister’s house, there is no shortage of professionalism here. The actors are spot on in their impressions while bringing their own voice to the characters. One of the most impressive things on display during the hour, however, is the breakneck speed at which these folks perform at. The choreography is amazing and the dialogue flies by so quick it may help to know a thing or two about the movies. Every actor on stage plays multiple roles including ‘Mad Men’ himself Mark Kelly, whose Hans Solo is just as arrogant and lovable as he is on screen while his Jango Fett voice work could putt Temuera Morrison out of a job. The guy who plays Darth Vader also plays Chewbacca. Part of the shows charm is seeing these actors on stage morph into different characters in the same scene, in the blink of an eye.
Let’s get one thing straight. I am not obsessive about the films and I surely don’t hate Episodes I-III at all. Unlike many of my colleagues, I didn’t grow up with the originals. In fact, I didn’t see the originals until just before the first three episodes were released. So even though half the t-shirts in my drawer are Star Wars related and I’m considered the Star Wars nerd in my group, I have no insanely strong connection to any of the films. So, while I understand the animosity towards Eps 1, 2 & 3, I have always felt that all the hate is sort of unsubstantiated. Until now that is. Having the films play out on stage in such a condensed way, I really began to see the cracks show. Because the actors on stage are highlighting so much of the film in so little time you start to really see how terrible those newer movies really are. And when I say terrible I mean hilarious. The lifeless relationship between Anakin and Padme, the insufferable Jar Jar Binks and the “Noooooooo!” heard around the world are all on full display at the KL Peters Auditorium at Beverly Hills High for two more weekends. Get your asses there now and may the Force Be With You!!
There are only 6 performances left so grab your tickets HERE and let me know what you think.