blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Staged (2020) s01e02 – Up To No Good, the extended version

So this episode doesn’t resolve the previous episode’s sort of cliffhanger, which had play director Simon Evans—played by show creator, writer, and director Simon Evans—apparently hanging up on his call with Michael Sheen and David Tennant when Sheen pressed him too hard on something.

Apparently Sheen got over it because they went from it not being a guaranteed thing to it being a guaranteed thing. It’s the first day of rehearsals and things do not go well. Evans has got a silly icebreaker, which predictably and quite amusingly pisses off Sheen, leaving Tennant to try to play peacekeeper. But then Evans’s sister, Lucy (played by sister Lucy Eaton)—who didn’t invite him to lockdown at her house and is going through a breakup with a distant boyfriend—gets Simon for the phone….

See, Staged is kind of a show about nothing. Only with David Tennant and Michael Sheen pretending to be doing something when they’re really doing nothing. The show gets plenty of material out of little things, like Evans hiding from his agent—Eaton has to confront him about it, with Evans doing a way too good of job of being, well, smarmy—and then there’s a sequence with Tennant trying to cook while Sheen offers advice through the computer.

The episode ends with a great cliffhanger involving Sheen’s neighbor; see, Sheen’s dumping his empty booze bottles in her recycling so his neighbor’s don’t think he’s a lush and then she’s at the door.

“Staged” is really funny, fairly well acted, and perfectly timed. Twenty-two minutes is just right.

There’s a great end tag where the stars bicker about their credits on the play poster.

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