BBC One (iplayer)
Michael Christopher Sheen & David ‘Lying ****ard’ Tennent
with a dusting of special guests
Written by Simon Evans and Phin Glynn
This is one of the funniest and narcissistic shows I have seen for a long time.
The premise of ‘staged’ is the consequence of Covid-19 interrupting West End rehearsals for Pirandello’s Six Characters in search of an Author. In which the two leading roles are taken by Sheen and Tennant. Clearly self-isolation is a problem.
Simon the director played by Simon Evans suggests rehearsing online, hence emerging ready to unleash themselves into the brave new world post pandemic. Only if he can persuade them to embrace it or at least try reading the first page.
The ensuing logistics surrounding conducting this all via zoom (other face to face thingamajigs are available) and keeping the two main stars engaged and ‘arsed’ to be part of it are left to the ineffectual Simon and the plays funder – Jo, played brilliantly by Nina Sosanya.
Using what is now referred to as ‘the new normal’ this was filmed entirely in isolation during lockdown. Just the word zoom should send shivers throughout your being, the glittering shiny new toy we all embraced a few weeks ago for shambolic Prosecco parties, has now become a permanent fixture and a chore for most of us.
This is deftly demonstrated throughout Staged. In some genuinely hilarious exchanges, mainly forgetting the damned thing is still on watching you, talking over each other and some very, very, closeup shots. The cast use technology to deliver a clever and cheeky series of monologues.
General appearance and lack of hygiene are obviously commented on, David sporting a fetching Alice band and Michael, proudly baring big, big hair, and lots of facial growth. Both are seen throughout clutching glasses of wine, personalised paraphernalia, and bickering about their various lockdown projects and chores. The pineapple and morning daybreak drawing comparison is comical, – nothing that a bit of shading couldn’t improve.
Who knew how funny Michael and David are, and how colourful their language would be!
It’s clear these two are great friends and have been for some time, as their hilarious faux rivalry, personal insults and warm moments are genuine – it would not have worked otherwise.
Should you watch – Definitely
Words: Jasper Haze