Comedy from Canada

Slings & ArrowsAre you constantly annoyed by what’s on commercial television and find you have watched all the hot HBO series from beginning to end? Try Slings & Arrows, a three season comedy from Canada available on DVD. The story takes place behind the scenes of the fictional New Burbage Festival, a theatre troupe modeled loosely on the real life Stratford Festival, in Stratford Ontario. The Canadian actors and writers offer a subtly different voice from the US or British shows I’m used to and the episodes are chock full of behind the scenes back-biting and shenanigans delivered with pure Shakespearian flair.

The first season begins when the festival falls on difficult times with the untimely demise of its artistic director Oliver Welles. In a pinch they bring in the notorious Geoffrey Tennant, formerly an actor with the production, best remembered for his mental breakdown while on stage seven years earlier playing Hamlet. Tennant must cope with the notoriously difficult play, the foibles of his cast of actors, a sponsor run rampant AND the ghost of Oliver. No need to be Shakespeare literate to enjoy the production – the fine acting brings the playscript to life right before your eyes.

2 thoughts on “Comedy from Canada”

  1. Thank you for naming Slings and Arrows for me! A friend raved about that series to me a year or so ago, and when I thought of it later with the library catalog in front of me, the only clues I could remember were “Canadian”, “series” and “funny”. Now I can place my hold!

  2. A word on Canadian series – they’re really short: only 6 episodes per season. You can easily work your way through all three seasons of this fine show in no time, and then go into instant withdrawal, wanting more. Each season focuses on a particular Shakespearean play: The first is Hamlet, the second, the un-namable ‘Scottish Play’ (I dare not even type it for fear of calling the curse upon this blog), and the last season is especially good, with the real action mirroring the King Lear story quite clearly. I wept during some of the amazing Lear performances. Fine stuff!

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