Slings and Arrows (2003–2006)

TV Series  |   |  Comedy
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In the fictional town of New Burbage, legendary theatrical madman Geoffrey Tennant returns to the New Burbage Theatre Festival, the site of his greatest triumph and most humiliating failure... See full summary »

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3   2   1  
2006   2005   2003  
22 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Geoffrey Tennant (18 episodes, 2003-2006)
...
 Ellen Fanshaw (18 episodes, 2003-2006)
Stephen Ouimette ...
 Oliver Welles (18 episodes, 2003-2006)
Susan Coyne ...
 Anna Conroy (18 episodes, 2003-2006)
...
 Darren Nichols (18 episodes, 2003-2006)
...
 Richard Smith-Jones (18 episodes, 2003-2006)
Oliver Dennis ...
 Jerry (18 episodes, 2003-2006)
Graham Harley ...
 Cyril (17 episodes, 2003-2006)
Michael Polley ...
 Frank (17 episodes, 2003-2006)
Catherine Fitch ...
 Maria (17 episodes, 2003-2006)
Leon Pownall ...
 Brian (12 episodes, 2003-2005)
...
 Nahum (11 episodes, 2003-2006)
...
 Basil (9 episodes, 2003-2005)
...
 Sloan (8 episodes, 2003-2005)
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Storyline

In the fictional town of New Burbage, legendary theatrical madman Geoffrey Tennant returns to the New Burbage Theatre Festival, the site of his greatest triumph and most humiliating failure, to assume the artistic directorship after the sudden death of his mentor, Oliver Welles. When Geoffrey arrives he finds that Oliver is still there, in spirit anyway, and with his guidance (and often in spite of it) Geoffrey attempts to reconcile with his past while wrestling the festival back from the marketing department. Despite a bitter leading lady, a clueless leading man, and a scheming general manager, he manages to stage a remarkable production of Hamlet -- the play that drove him mad. Written by The Movie Network - Synopsis

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The real show is backstage.

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Comedy

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3 November 2003 (Canada)  »

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Trivia

The fictional town of New Burbage as well as their primarily Shakespeare-based theatre festival is based on the Stratford Festival, located in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. See more »

Quotes

Cyril: [singing, with friend joining in on the chorus] Cheer up, Hamlet; chin up, Hamlet; buck up, you melancholy Dane! So your uncle is a cad who murdered Dad and married Mum. That's really no excuse to be as glum as you've become! So wise up, Hamlet; rise up, Hamlet; perk up and sing a new refrain. Your incessant monologizing fills the castle with ennui. Your antic disposition is embarrassing to see. And by the way, you sulky brat, the answer is to be! You're driving poor Ophelia insane. So shut up, ...
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Referenced in In Depth: Ben Shapiro (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Smart, funny and charming
2 June 2005 | by (Vancouver BC) – See all my reviews

"Slings and Arrows" is a Canadian comedy in the vein of those great six or eight episode miniseries that British TV does so well. Take all the good bits of a thirteen or twenty-two episode season and condense them into six or eight hours, perfect for a couple of DVDs.

Maverick theatre director Geoffrey Tennant learns that his alienated mentor has died, and he returns to his stomping grounds, the moribund New Burbage Shakespeare Festival. There he reluctantly takes over directing the latest in a line of bloated, limp productions of Shakespeare plays that nobody watches.

The corporate sponsors want to turn the festival into a venue for musicals, his Hamlet's previous experience is action movies, his Ophelia thinks being insane is the same as being stoned, his Gertrude is his ex-lover who hates him, and he has no money for sets or costumes. As if that wasn't enough, there's a chameleon prowling around the theatre and Geoffrey's mentor his haunting him.

The plot is loosely based on Hamlet, of course: a man returns home and finds it overrun with corruption, hypocrisy and indifference, setting off an existential crisis. This time the crisis is about the point of doing live theatre, when both the actors and the audience are going through the motions. As Geoffrey's rival observes, "More people listen to the radio than go to the theatre, and nobody listens to the radio." The biggest problem is that Jeffrey's production isn't the revelation it's supposed to be. The non-sets, the lack of special effects and anachronistic costumes, doing it the way the Bard did it at the Globe, isn't terribly original. When the action star does Hamlet's soliloquy, it's just a handsome guy saying the words.

At any rate, the backstage rivalries, romances and reconciliations are what we're really here to see. Even the secondary players get to shine in fine parts: a corporate bitch bent on turning the festival into ShakespeareLand, an egomaniacal theatre director with a fake injury, a passive-aggressive theatre journalist, a pizza delivery guy/motorcycle racer who courts Jeffrey's ex, a wise backstage manager, a Greek chorus of two old theatre queens, a pair of owlish undertakers, and more.

It's both funny and compelling, and I look forward to the rumored second season.


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