“Staged” isn’t so much a great concept as it’s a great concept for the constraints it’s under. “Staged” is a Covid lockdown project, with most of the “action” two people talking on video conferencing (they say Zoom but it doesn’t matter) and then some static shots where everyone’s locked down.
Also very important is who’s locked down. The stars are David Tennant and Michael Sheen, playing themselves, with their significant others, Georgia Tennant and Anna Lundberg, respectively, locked down in the same location. So built-in cast.
The story’s pretty simple; Tennant and Sheen were going to do a play–Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello—for a newbie director, Simon Evans (also “Staged”’s writer, director, and creator—only the pandemic happened so play’s off. Until Evans has the idea they can just rehearse it (it’s mainly a two character play) over Zoom and then they’ll be all set to go when things open back up.
This episode aired in June 2020 so it’s interesting to see where they thought Britain was going pandemic-wise. Though the toilet paper jokes date quite well since we’ve got toilet paper again.
So Evans is scared of Sheen and he gets Tennant to try to sell him on the idea, which goes pretty well (for a while), leading up to a funny sort of cliffhanger. Sort of not cliffhanger.
It’s all about the banter between Tennant and Sheen, who have various “set piece” conversations. Here they talk about amusing the kids and wives with new hobbies only to learn Tennant draws shite pineapples and Sheen paints lovely landscapes.
It’s a fun show. The static camera angles are occasionally a little bland, but the actors make up for them.