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 »

Watch Now

on Amazon Video





3   2   1  
2006   2005   2003  
23 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »





Series cast summary:
 Geoffrey Tennant (18 episodes, 2003-2006)
 Ellen Fanshaw (18 episodes, 2003-2006)
 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)


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The real show is backstage.




See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 November 2003 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

Пращи и стрелы  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



See  »

Did You Know?


Geoffrey Tennant's history of breakdown while performing Hamlet may have been inspired by Daniel Day-Lewis who suffered a genuine nervous breakdown in 1989 and became convinced on stage that he was talking to the ghost of his own father, the poet Cecil Day-Lewis. He walked off in mid-performance. See more »


Cyril: [about Geoffrey] He's doing the rounds. He saw the Chekov on Tuesday. He was at the Dream last night.
Frank: No!
Cyril: Yeah. There he was. Third raw from the back. Head burried in his hands like he lost a brother in the war.
Frank: Crikey. He wouldn't recast, would he?
Cyril: Not the Dream, no. But God knows what he'll do with Oliver's Hamlet. Play the lead himself.
Frank: You think?
Cyril: Oh, why not? It was the play that drow him mad. Seven years ago. I saw it all with me own eyes. Halfway through the gravedigger scene he suddenly ...
See more »


Referenced in In Depth: Ben Shapiro (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: