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STAR WARS TRILOGY IN 30 MINUTES

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Here's one show the title of which tells you exactly what you're getting into, and there's something to be said for truth in advertising. Trilogy in 30 Minutes is just that, the entire Star Wars saga condensed into a fast and furious staging. OK, maybe it's not the entire series—technically, it's no longer a trilogy but a five-parter—but we're talking only about the good Star Wars movies here. Perhaps in a few years we can expect a retelling of the best moments of Episodes 1-3 performed in 10 minutes. You do have to be very familiar with the films to follow the action, and even the most hard-core enthusiast might take a moment to comprehend what's happening in some scenes, but Trilogy is a must for any true fan. Playwright/director Patrick T. Gorman clearly knows his material and delivered on the daunting task of choosing the highlights from each story. He stages his action with an admirable minimalism, using ordinary objects like chairs and flashlights in lieu of grand special effects.

He's aided by a terrific cast whose performances walk the delicate line between homage and parody. A spot-on James Snyder makes a better Luke Skywalker than Mark Hamill ever did. As Han Solo, Mark Kelly perfectly captures the smug deadpan delivery Harrison Ford brought to his early role. And Steve Josephson's alternating among C-3PO, Yoda, and Grand Moff Tarkin is a feat of amazing choreography. Other standouts include Howard D. William Yates as a hip-swinging Lando Calrissian in full Colt 45 mode and Michael Cornacchia, who is memorable in several roles but will be forever burned in my memory as Jabba the Hutt in very small underwear. It's a blast to watch the group of talented performers who clearly share the audience's affection for the classic saga.

Only two minor quibbles. I wish there had been a little less straightforward telling of the story and more insider satire. When Snyder recalls the classic blunder from Star Wars in which Mark Hamill called Carrie Fisher by her name, the house roared in appreciation at the clever send-up. Secondly, how can you stage Return of the Jedi and not at least mention the gold bikini?

"Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes," presented by Festival Theatre USA at the Coronet Theatre, 368 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood. Fri.-Sat. 10:30 p.m. Oct. 25-Nov. 23. $15. (310) 657-7377.

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