Starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant, Simon Evans’ lockdown TV show Staged is amiable fun
“Come on, show us your pineapple”
A lot of people I know have fallen very hard for Staged so obviously I have to be contrary in saying that I found it amiably good fun rather than essential humour. Born out of lockdown ripping the heart out of the entertainment industry, the show – conceived by Simon Evans (also writer and director) and Phin Glynn – is something of a meta-drama as Michael Sheen and David Tennant play Michael Sheen and David Tennant.
The set-up of Staged is that the actors were meant to be starting rehearsals for a production of Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author and their director, Evans, has hit on the idea of moving those rehearsals online. The reality though is that it is about anything but, as the pair banter hilariously from their respective homes, cycling through squabbles about the billing order on the poster, to enunciation, lockdown routines and domestic dramas, all the while taking any opportunity to puncture the other’s actorly ego.
And lockdown being what it is, the show also stars their respective partners (Georgia Tennant is also a producer) who also have a creative role to play behind the home cameras too. There’s a wry humour to their interactions, subtly wittier than the deliberate staginess of the leading men and the combination proves rather quite winning. There’s also a grand array of special guest cameos which provide a nice set of surprises to add to the gentle sense of fun.