Review: Tiny Ninja Theater
TheaterMania, 4/9/03
"There's something irresistibly charming about seeing Shakespeare's works performed by miniature plastic figurines."

Article: Small Actors Make Big Splash
Dramatics, 4/03
"As Yoda says, ‘You do or you do not; there is no try.’"

Review: Theatre Pick for Week of March 4, 3/4/03
"You think you've seen every twist on The Bard’s work humanly possible..."

Article: Fringe Hit Tiny Ninja Theater Returns to NYC
Playbill Online, 2/9/03
"Trevor Bigfoot as Mercutio — whose death scene has to be seen to be believed"

Article: Best of Charleston 2003
The Charleston City Paper, 1/03
"Readers Pick for Best Piccolo Spoleto Event"

Review: Shakespeare in a Shoebox
The Washington Post, 1/11/03
"Once you've seen its Romeo & Juliet, you'll want to come to back for figurine versions of Hamlet or Othello or whatever else." — Peter Marks

Review: Action Figure Genius
The Charleston City Paper, 10/02
"Quick, clever, and chock full of surprises, more than one audience member claimed that it even outperformed the hit interpretation of the Scottish play." — Colleen Reilly

Review: Freeze Frame
Creative Loafing Charlotte, 10/2/02
"I heartily recommend being among the lucky few when Weinstein & Co. return to Charlotte or Piccolo Spoleto." — Perry Tannenbaum
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Review: Tiny Version of Macbeth is Giant Entertainment
The Charlotte Observer, 9/22/02
"Fresh, funny, ingenious and original." — JoAnn Grose

Review: Tiny Ninja Theater
Hairline, 8/02
"Four Stars: Tiny Ninja Theater is a fantastic and unorthodox show which represents what many love about the Edinburgh Festival." — Simon Ferguson

Review: Bard Takes a Flyer
Sunday Herald, 8/25/02
"Four Stars: Shakespeare is as equally at home among the ridiculous, of course." — Tim Abrahams

Review: Tiny Ninja Theater presents Macbeth
The Scotsman, 8/19/02
"Must be seen to be believed. " — Paul Rhodes

Review: Macbeth
Three Weeks, 8/17/02
"If a definition of the Fringe is originality and artistic expression, then this 35 minute abbreviated version of Macbeth, with tiny plastic ninjas as a cast, must surely rank as an ultimate example." — Paul Cochrane

Review: Mr. Smiley Face Macbeth
The Guardian, 8/10/02
"Weinstein plays it dead straight and speaks the text rather better than some classically trained actors I have heard." — Lyn Gardner

Review: Mini-Cawdor Steals Hearts
The List, 8/8/02
"a marvel of theatrical innovation" — Catherine Bromley

Review: No Drams Required
Edinburgh Guide, 8/3/02
"This is the only one I’m recommending to all my friends and the only thing I think I’ll make a return trip to!" — Annabel Ingram

Article: Ninja-cized Bard
Charleston Post & Courier, 6/1/02

Article: Tiny Ninja Theater Returns to Charleston
The State, 5/31/02

Review: Action Figure Genius
The Charleston City Paper, 5/29/02

Review: Tiny Ninjas Take On Shakespeare's Giant Roles
Charleston Post & Courier, 5/29/02

Article: Oh Tiny Romeo
The Charleston City Paper, 5/02

Article: What's The Buzz
The Charleston City Paper, 5/02
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Article: Where to Celebrate Valentine's Day Solo
Time Out New York, 2/14/02
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Review: Massaker im Spielzeugland
Taz Bremen, 1/22/02
the babelfish translation

Article: Best of Charleston 2001
The Charleston City Paper, 1/02
"Best Use of Plastic Figurines in a Performance" jump to the good bits

Article: Shakespeare de Plástico
Revista 2K, 6/22/01
the babelfish translation

Piccolo's Prices Too Steep for Local Festival
The State, 6/10/01
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Spoleto Festival at 25
The New York Times, 6/5/01
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Tiny Ninjas Put Twist on the Bard
Charleston Post & Courier, 6/2/01

Tiny Ninjas Project Big Illusion
The Charleston City Paper, 5/29/01

Review: No Small Jokes, Just Small Actors
Charleston Post & Courier, 5/29/01

Article: Immediate Art
The Charleston City Paper, 5/01
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Article: Serious Shakespeare Takes But An Inch
The Charleston City Paper, 5/01

Review: Sightlines: Tom Waits in the Toilet
The Village Voice, 4/27/01

Article: All Is But Toys
Stage Directions, 3/01
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Article: The Bard's New Band of Merry Men Perform Macbeth
American Theater, 12/00

Article: Off-Off color: Toy Story
Time Out New York, 11/9/00
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Review: Street of Blood, Tiny Ninja Theater presents Macbeth
NEXT Magazine, 9/15/00
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Article: Is That a Ninja That I See Before Me?
Playbill Online, 8/30/00

Review: Oh, Forget the Money, Let's Dress Up and Play
The New York Times, 8/26/00
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Fringe Binge
Time Out New York, 8/24/00
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Review: Fringe Benefits
The Village Voice, 8/23/00
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Review: As The Bard Himself Might Put it..., 8/20/00

Review: Tiny Ninja Macbeth, Finally, Little Green Man, 8/18/00
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Article: Off-Off and Running
Time Out New York, 8/10/00
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Absolutely Brilliant. You better press your palm to palm and pray you get a ticket.

Action Figure Genius
Tiny Ninja Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet

By Colleen Reilly

Dov Weinstein and the Tiny Ninja Theatre Company have done it again. Perhaps you are tired of hearing about the success of last year’s Macbeth, but get ready to be engulfed once more with the wave of acclaim that will follow this Romeo and Juliet. Quick, clever, and chock full of surprises, more than one audience member claimed that it even outperformed the hit interpretation of the Scottish play.

It is no small feat to memorize even a couplet of Shakespeare’s verse. Imagine performing an entire text, creating distinctive voices for each character, and adeptly manipulating action figure puppets in the mix. Weinstein manages it all, and even takes a featured role in this performance.

He shares the stage with a cast of tiny ninjas, diminutive Halloween toys, little aliens, and featured action figures. In last year’s Macbeth, Mrs. Smile, an inch-high Smiley face draped in pink, gave a chilling performance as Lady Macbeth. This year she proves her acting ability and classical training in the comic delight of a performance as Juliet’s nurse. Who knew that action figures had such range?

And originality. Tiny Ninja Theatre achieves its magic with such ordinary items that you are left questioning whether Weinstein has really invented this world from his own imagination or uncovered some secret life of things. You can envision him, eying an ironing board and thinking, you were meant to be transformed to the fair Verona. In the mind’s eye of Weinstein, a first aid kit has been longing to be transformed into Friar Laurence’s cell. And after seeing this Romeo and Juliet it is perfectly clear that white confectionary boxes were never really meant for cakes, but for tiny ninja stardom.

Draped in white, this production has a very different feel from last year’s Macbeth, but with the same awesome creativity. Making their first appearance with Tiny Ninja Theatre, Chris Head as Romeo and Melanie Hipchikz as Juliet seem a bit stiff at times, but express all of the frenetic energy of young love. Perhaps these star-crossed lovers are simply top-heavy, but they literally fall head over heels for one another. Brice Leigh as Tybalt stands fixed in his jealous rage of a performance. The role of Mercutio is a bit of a stretch for Trevor Bigfoot, but he springs at the chance with fervor. In one of the more potent moments of the play, Juliet drew her happy dagger and the mesmerized audience sat in a silence broken only by the distant chimes of St. Philip’s Steeple. Fortune’s fool, indeed.

Weinstein’s stagings of the Capulet feast and the apothecary are particularly intriguing, and he has once again discovered several textual resonances between Shakespeare’s world and the realm of inch-high plastic ninjas.

As a world premiere, this Romeo and Juliet, is not without its glitches. The sight lines, for instance, are in need of some shaping for the expanded playing space. But these minor flaws are few and far between, and half as much fun to watch as the performance itself, like when the force of Weinstein’s voice as Juliet’s enraged father literally pushes her from the stage to fall to the floor. But there is no indication that Romeo and Juliet is not rapidly on its way to becoming the polished performance that Macbeth has been. After all, it is in the capable hands of Dov Weinstein. And he has proven himself not only a polished Shakespearean performer but also some kind of action figure genius.

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