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Slings and Arrows: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
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Winner of 13 Gemini Awards and showered with critical acclaim, this darkly comic Canadian series follows the fortunes of a dysfunctional Shakespearean theatre troupe, exposing the high drama, scorching battles, and electrifying thrills that happen behind the scenes.
Paul Gross (Due South) stars as Geoffrey Tennant, the passionate but unstable artistic director of the New Burbage Theatre Festival. Haunted by the ghost of his predecessor (Stephen Ouimette), he struggles to realize his creative vision while handling touchy actors, a jittery general manager (Mark McKinney), a pretentious guest director (Don McKellar), and his own tempestuous romance with the festival's leading lady (Martha Burns). The backstage bedlam mirrors the onstage angst as Geoffrey directs three of Shakespeare's masterpieces-Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear-one in each season. Guest stars include Rachel McAdams (The Notebook), Colm Feore (Chicago), Sarah Polley (Go, The Sweet Hereafter), and renowned Stratford Festival actor William Hutt in one of his last performances.
BONUS FEATURES - Exclusive episode commentary with Bob Martin, Mark McKinney, Susan Coyne, Graham Harley, Michael Polley, Paul Gross, Martha Burns and director Peter Wellington - Behind-the-scenes featurette - Extended scenes of King Lear - Deleted and Extended scenes - Bloopers - Trailer - Production notes - Song lyrics - Cast interviews - Photo gallery - Cast and crew on set
"Absolutely addictive" -- The New York Times
"Beautiful, intelligent writing and polished acting" -- The Wall Street Journal
"Pitch-perfect drama and comedy" -- San Francisco Chronicle
"Terrific, inspired backstage comedy" -- Los Angeles Times
"The most fully satisfying slice of entertainment in ages" -- Newsday
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Top Customer Reviews
As the story starts, artistic director Oliver Welles (Stephen Ouimette) is run over by a pig truck after drunkenly falling asleep in the road. His replacement: former protege and genius iconoclast Geoffrey Tennant (Paul Gross), whose acting career ended in a nervous breakdown onstage. Unsurprisingly, the acting troupe -- including Geoffrey's ex-lover Ellen Fanshaw (Martha Burns) -- are wary of of Geoffrey's brilliant but erratic behavior.
And Geoffrey isn't too sure of himself, since he seems to be seeing Oliver's ghost trying to guide him from beyond the grave (and causing Geoffrey to start screaming at thin air). Now he has to not only produce "Hamlet" (ironic, no?), but deal with Ellen's cougar romances, avant-garde director Darren Nichols, and an omnivorous American businesswoman trying to turn New Burbage into a shallow theatrical theme park. Will the show go on, or is this "Hamlet" doomed?
The second season sees Geoffrey being forced to put on "Macbeth," and the curse begins to affect the theater right away. The "Romeo and Juliet" director falls off the stage and breaks her neck, putting the production in Darren Nichols' hands; an edgy new ad campaign alienates EVERYBODY; Ellen is being audited; and Oliver's ghost returns to help Geoffrey put on "Macbeth" as he dreamed it.Read more ›
Spanning three seasons in only 18 episodes, this show should be actionable. The characters are easily recognizable to Stratford watchers, and they are not potrayed as very smart or lovable. Why there hasn't been a libel or defamation suit beats me. Each episode rocks. All of the actors are excellent, there are no weak spots. From the corporate takeover to the abysmal advertizing ("Froghammer"), from the assistant to the artistic director to the nerdy financial director (who co-wrote the script), from the ex-psychotic artistic director to the truly psychotic guest director ("deal with it"), from the American film star guest artist who has never done Shakespeare, to the dying actor who absolutely needs to do Lear before he dies, the scripts ring true. And truly hilarious, even if you don't know Shakespeare or Stratford politics.
Again, this is the best Canadian TV series ever produced. If you liked Shakespeare in Love, you will be ecstatic about this.
Paul Gross, Martha Burns, and the rest of the cast create vivid, memorable characters, and the series would be worth getting just for the opportunity to see how Shakespeare should be played! William Hutt, appearing as King Lear (in Season 3) is quite simply magnificent - his storm scene, and Cordelia's death, reduce me to weeping each time I watch (and it is definitely worth watching more than once). And there are other subtle touches - the hiring of a young Hollywood heartthrob as Hamlet (surely not a nod at Keanu Reeves, at Manitoba Theatre Centre) is particularly noteworthy, as he is led into the world of real acting.
There's some pretty raw language (quite a lot, to be truthful), but not enough to discourage adults who live in the real world.
Most recent customer reviews
Superb. This series has everything: brilliant writing and acting, engaging characters and a fine story. It's original, intelligent (without being ponderous) and very funny. Read morePublished 2 months ago by lilian
This is one of the all-time best Canadian television serials. It is funny, clever, and makes some very profound observations about nature of art, the theatre etc. Read morePublished 3 months ago by judith flynn
Hilarious! If you have spent any time watching live theatre, working in the arts, or being friends with actors, this is a must see!Published 17 months ago by Jill
This series was recommended to me by an actor in our Community Theatre production. I power watched it once and plan to watch it again and again. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Anne Hogan
Good story line, lots of character development, excellent acting, appropriate ending.
Has you laughing one minute and crying the next. Read more
As a Shakespearean actor, I could not be more delighted with this series. It should be required viewing for any actor wanting to take on the "Scottish play".Published on Feb. 6 2014 by Michael Novak
If you enjoy any theatre, this gives a great inside look. It is hilarious and the acting is a high calibre. Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2013 by Alice Mills
best Canadian show about the theater world, ever produced. if you have worked in theater, you will cringe and laugh at the same time.Published on Aug. 27 2013 by Thomas Steinman
This show was short lived, but Paul Gross did a great job poking fun at Canadian Theater and his take on Shakespeare and the actors who preform in the plays was witty and full of... Read morePublished on Aug. 13 2013 by 905ShoeFan