Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.


“Delectable drama”

Meta lockdown comedy featuring David Tennant and Michael Sheen 


Finally. There have been dozens of attempts to produce performance art in isolation – audio plays, live-streamed show captures, Zoom-plays (as they should be neologised) – but rarely have they risen to the challenge. Here, at last, is something that does – something that spins the situation, and the production constraints it creates, into delectable drama.

Staged is, on the surface, a simple show. David Tennant and Michael Sheen, co-stars in Amazon’s Good Omens, play their shaggy-haired selves. They’re stuck at home, having been forced to postpone preparing for a production of Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author. Simon Evans – writer and director of the series, and also featuring as director of the fictional show – coaxes a succession of guest stars into resuming rehearsals online.

Related to this Review

Adventures with the Painted PeopleAdventures with the Painted People
Anno DominoAnno Domino
Coronavirus: BBC extends Culture in QuarantineCoronavirus: BBC extends Culture in Quarantine
Coronavirus: BBC unveils 'virtual festival of the arts' for UK in isolationCoronavirus: BBC unveils 'virtual festival of the arts' for UK in isolation

David Tennant and Michael Sheen in Staged
David Tennant and Michael Sheen in Staged
David Tennant and Michael Sheen in Staged
David Tennant and Michael Sheen in Staged

But there’s a lot going on underneath the surface: a battle of wits between Tennant and Sheen – the first episode has a great gag about their respective attempts at isolation artwork; an exploration of what isolation does to the ego; and a grand riff on Pirandello’s play itself.

It also intentionally apes that contemporary comedy classic The Trip – Michael Winterbottom’s evergreen series starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon – with its exquisitely meta conceit, plaintive piano score and two excellent central performances.

Tennant and Sheen are excellent, perennially, even when performing as themselves to their own laptops. Here, joined by Evans and by their real-life spouses – the actors Georgia Tennant and Anna Lundberg – they are on top form, crackling with snide chemistry. The whole thing is a treat. Watch it.

Production Details
Production nameStaged
Press night10/06/2020
Running time6 x 15min episodes
AuthorSimon Evans, Phin Glynn
DirectorSimon Evans
Musical directorAlex Baranowski
CastAdrian Lester, David Tennant, Judi Dench, Simon Evans, Lucy Eaton, Michael Sheen, Nina Sosanya, Rebecca Gage, Georgia Tennant, Anna Lundberg, Samuel L Jackson
TechnicalDan Gage
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Linked In