Slings & Arrows - Season 2
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The complete second season of the TV series Slings & Arrows.
Its amazing what can happen in the theatre. Dramas unfold, epic stories and indelible characters are formed, battles are fought, lovers wooed and spurned, and every once in a while, a play is actually performed. And so Geoffrey Tennant (Paul Gross) is back as the Artistic Director of the New Burbage Theatre Festival for a second season of the backstage machinations and on stage drama that is Slings and Arrows. After a triumphant first season that revolved around the staging of Hamlet, season two uses Macbeth, one of Shakespeares most difficult and cursed plays, as the central device for this seasons plots lines. Things begin close to where they left off in season one. As the last performance of Hamlet winds up a mysterious old woman, in witch-like fashion, practically dares Geoffrey to undertake Macbeth, and her ominous tone makes it clear it wont be easy. The lead actor (Geraint Wyn Davies) engages Geoffrey in a titanic clash of egos, with the ghost of Oliver (Steven Ouimette) continuing to weigh in from beyond the grave. The rest of last seasons stellar cast returns including Rachel McAdams, leading woman Ellen (Martha Burns), and the excellent Mark McKinney as scheming/bumbling CEO Richard Smith-Jones. The return of guest director Darren Nichols (Don McKellar) to stage a post post-modern Romeo and Juliet provides many of this seasons best moments, and shows the hilarious side of what happens when artistic imagination and exuberance outpace artistic ability.
Slings and Arrows was conceived as a set of three seasons. Where Season 1 focused on disillusioned youth, Season 2 "tackles the conflicts of middle age and rebranding," said executive producer Niv Fichman. The success of the first season afforded the show a larger budget, and so the original cast returned and a bevy of strong newcomers (including Wyn Davies, Colm Feore, and Diane DAquila) along with enhanced production values, were added. The result is a season that builds upon the high standard set in the first one. The writing continues to be some of the best on television; the characters are intriguing without being precious, and the dialog continues to snap with the kind of wit that ordinary sit-coms painfully lack. You dont have to have been in the theatre to get drawn into this world, but if you happen to have been an actor or ever worked on the stage, these characters will be familiar some of them probably a little too familiar. Its good to see that a strong debut has led to an even stronger continuation. --Daniel VanciniSee all Editorial Reviews
- Cast interviews
- Deleted and extended scenes
- Photo gallery
- Lyrics to "Mackers" and "Call To The Understudy"
- Production notes
- Cast filmographies
- All six episodes from the 2005 season on two discs
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Top Customer Reviews
Up til this minute, the funniest take on "Mackers" I have ever encountered was Adam McNaughtan's "The Scottish Song", which boils the plot of the play down to 4 minutes---or less. Leave it to the "Slings and Arrows" to go for the extended play.
Here's just a bit of what happens for Season Two--onstage and off.
Richard Smith-Jones, the General Manager, hires a new advertising guru to help boost ticket sales for the New Burbage Festival. Sanjay has an unfortunate propensity to quote Richard Nixon--and is in many ways, a better actor than some of the cast!
Ellen, our leading lady, is audited by the Canadian tax system. This lady's so unprepared and unaware that she thinks Christmas presents should be a business expense.
Geoffrey, our mad artistic director, thinks he's on his own with MacBeth, but Oliver Welles comes back. This is, after all, his play and his dream, and he wants Geoff to get it right.
Then, there's the playwright Lionel Train, who takes metafiction to a new low.
Of course, there's more. What makes "Slings and Arrows" so fascinating is the interwoven nature of the play and the theatre cast. The show's amusing and literate and is far too short. I'm glad I bought the DVD when I couldn't find the show locally. I will want to watch this again and again. You pick up something new to laugh about every single time.
You can bet hilarity will ensue, and it does. From the power struggle between Geoffrey and the actor hired to play the title role, to Darren's outrageous staging of Romeo and Juliet, to the offstage drama provided by Canadian Revenue's audit of Ellen, Geoffrey and Ellen's off again/on again relationship, Anna's fling with a playwright, the insulting 'rebranding' of the New Burbage Festival (with a superb performance from Colm Feore) and others, the second season of Slings and Arrows is pure joy.
The culminating performance of the Scottish Tragedy is not the least of the wonderful moments in this series. Not for anything would I spoil it for anyone, so let me just say it's full of surprises. Thank you Slings & Arrows for making the world of the theater so accessible and funny, and for making Shakespeare cool again.