A Canadian actor who has made a name for himself by headlining a series of one-man shows across the globe, from London’s West End to the Sydney Opera House, is set to take the stage at Bert Church LIVE Theatre this weekend.
Charles Ross, famous for his one-man rendition of famous fantasy series, including Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, will bring to life the enchanting characters of both of those worlds, including space aliens, battleships, hobbits, and orcs on May 6 and 7, respectively.
According to Ross, he will do so without the aid of costumes, props, or even a set, aside from a black boiler suit and some elbow pads.
“You’re seeing me on stage, a full-grown man, acting like an eight-year-old kid using all the skills that I have to be all the characters, to do their voices, to re-enact the films informed by the books,” he said.
“I’m re-telling the stories, but I’m immersed in it. I use the books to [inform] how I made editorial jumps.”
On May 6, Ross will re-tell the “classic bad hair” Star Wars trilogy in 60 minutes, boasting booming special effects, riveting stage fights, and harrowing rescues. Thereafter, he will return to the stage on May 7, bringing to life J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth.
Ross said the show holds entertainment value for everyone, regardless of whether people have seen the movies, read the books, or consider themselves a die-hard fan of either series.
“Even if you have no idea what I’m doing, it is absolutely fascinatingly bizarre to watch a 47-year-old man flip around like a fried egg being a cast of 100,000 people, and orcs, and monsters,” he said.
He said there is an element of “funsies” about the performance where the pressure is off of both him and the audience.
“I guarantee if nothing else, you will be shocked and amazed by what I do,” he said. “I defy you to be entertained in some fashion.”
According to Ross, actors from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, and even Sir Ian McKellen have seen the show and given their seal of approval.
“If you liked Lord of the Rings, you’ll love Charles Ross’ version,” said McKellen of the show.
Born and raised in northern B.C., Ross said he got his start in theatre during his time at university, where he met one of his best friends and formed a creative partnership. From there, he began to perform at Fringe Festivals across Canada, exercising his creative muscle and attempting crazy and wacky performances.
“It seemed that it could maybe work, but I didn’t actually think it could be one entire show as one-man Star Wars, but it turned out it could,” he said.
Ross began to tour with the new material and it arose in popularly so much that the Lord of the Rings one-man show was created as its sequel.
“At the time, Lord of the Rings was the biggest thing that was current,” he said. “It went better than the one-man Star Wars did.”
He added the show was a hit in major cities around the world, including a stint off-Broadway in New York City.
“Since about 2002, with the exception of the pandemic, I've been non-stop touring and I have been all over the world – four different continents, fifteen countries,” he said, adding One-Man Pride and Prejudice, Batman, and Avengers shows were added to his repertoire over the years.
Ross said his inspiration to continue his show after all these years is the feeling he gets when he steps on stage and makes a new audience laugh.
“I remember being a kid and the first time I ever made my entire school laugh – I felt like, if I could do this forever, I would never get tired of it,” he said, adding theatre is a way to create magic and bring the audience on an emotional journey.
“When you’re an adult, you can continue to pull people along on these ridiculous escapades,” he said. “I’m doing something nobody really does and having a fantastic time doing it.
“I’ve never found there’s anything that has fed me personally the way theatre does.”