Home Video Review: 'Slings And Arrows' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Home Video Review: 'Slings And Arrows'

Play associated audio

Time now for a home-viewing recommendation from movie critic Bob Mondello. He recently caught an online episode of the Shakespeare-centric comedy Slings and Arrows and says it reminded him how much he liked the whole series.

Even though he's a major character, Oliver, a flamboyant director at the fictional New Burbage Theater Festival (modeled on Canada's Stratford Shakespeare Fest) gets killed by a truck in the first episode of the first season of Slings and Arrows. A truck labeled "Canada's Best Hams," no less — appropriate for a guy who deals with actors. Of course, if you know your Shakespeare, you know death won't keep Oliver down.

Ghosts pop up all the time in the Bard's work — particularly in Hamlet, the show Oliver was about to stage for the festival. Now, it must go on with an even more flamboyant director, one who takes that line about there being "something rotten" in the state of Denmark seriously.

"I want a rank and foul-looking, foul-acted and if possible foul-smelling Hamlet," he tells the cast on the first day of rehearsals. "Questions?"

Slings and Arrows isn't just a backstage comedy; it's a romp about the whole business of running a theater festival — from fundraising fiasco to opening night meltdown. Also about the movie stars who drop in, and the egos, feuds and cases of nerves that make live theater such an adrenaline rush.

It's kind of a predecessor — though much funnier and more sophisticated — to the NBC musical series Smash, with the enormous advantage that this series has not musical comedy but the Bard's plays to hold the mirror up to nature. And happily, it gets the Shakespeare right.

A cult hit for three six-episode seasons, Slings and Arrows found fresh comedy each season in the production of a Shakespearean tragedy: Hamlet the first season, Macbeth the second, King Lear the third. It's not just fun; you'll get the plays in ways you never have.

The show will prove addictive if you're a theater nut, and if you're not, it may help you become one.

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

For The Autumnal Equinox, A Poem As Chilling As The Fall Weather

Tuesday is the first day of fall. This time of year reminds critic Abigail Deutsch of Stephen Dobyns' "How to Like It" — a poem about a man who ponders his lost summers and fleeting dreams.
NPR

Keeping Heirloom Apples Alive Is 'Like A Chain Letter' Over Many Centuries

Scott Farm in Vermont grows 100 apple varieties, some of them dating back to the 1700s. These apples may not look as pretty as the Red Delicious, but what they lack in looks they make up for in taste.
WAMU 88.5

New Anthony Brown Video Accuses Opponent Of 'Hiding' And 'Lying"

Democrat Anthony Brown unveiled a new web video today alleging that Republican Larry Hogan is "hiding" his positions on contentious issues like abortion and gun control.
NPR

Retailers' Customers Cautioned As Cyber Attacks Continue

Home Depot says some 56 million card holders were possibly compromised in a cyber attack. It says there's no evidence that debit PIN numbers were comprised or that the breach affected online shoppers.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.