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Arts and Entertainment

LAist Review: Tiny Ninjas Take on the Bard

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Mr. Smile, who plays Macbeth, is surrounded by Tiny Ninja Theater castmates. / Photo courtesy of Tiny Ninja Theater.

On Tuesday the Tiny Ninja Theater company performed William Shakespeare’s Macbeth before a standing-room-only audience in the tiny Fake Gallery on Melrose. The evening capped the New York-based company’s four performances—two at the Fake and two others at a little larger venue called Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The Tiny Ninjas tackled the Bard’s tale of murder, deceit and a little bit of the supernatural in about 45 minutes flat. And that’s great for our short-attention spans, especially since most contact with Shakespeare these days comes through high school and college term papers or onscreen as reinterpreted by the likes of Leo DiCaprio or Kenneth Brannagh. (And no, Gwenyth Paltrow’s Shakespeare in Love doesn’t count.)

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The best part about this wildly entertaining production was the acting. Hands down, the ninjas - and in particular Mr. and Mrs. Smile as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth - were spectacular. Yes. The entire cast of Macbeth consisted of little plastic action figures. The staging, action and set movement were conducted by their maestro Dov Weinstein, who also happened to provide all the voices for the production.

Weinstein's classical performance of Old English dialogue provided a great juxtaposition to the absolute absurdity and hilarity of watching Mr. Smile (think Jack-in- the-Box antennae ball with body and legs) execute lines like "Is this a dagger which I see before me..." The action--for those not lucky enough to be sitting in the front row--was broadcast on monitors around the stage.

Now with Shakespeare productions under its belt, we hear that Tiny Ninja Theater is working on Checkov's Three Sisters and O'Neil's Desire Under the Elms -- and if they're even half as entertaining as Macbeth, then we'll totally be there.

This time with binoculars.