Inside No 9

Series 1 - 5. The Understudy

Radio Times
Review by:
Jack Seale

The biggest challenge Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton have set themselves, with this anthology of one-off dark comedies, has been pouring a new story into the pint pot that is half an hour of TV. They manage it with panache here, in another fable of the unforeseeable that gallops unerringly to a horrible conclusion.

Pemberton is a boorish, bitter stage actor taking the lead in the Scottish Play. He's dismissive of his co-stars, the audience and particularly his meek understudy Jim (Shearsmith). But Jim's fiancée isn't willing to let her other half stay stuck in the wings...

It's a magnificent meta-Macbeth, full of daggers before and spots that damn. Knowing the text will take you only halfway and, in any case, the clever plot is really just a vehicle for characters sketched fully in only a few lines, and a torrent of fruity luvvie gags about jealousy, superstition and stage-hogging hams. Delicious.

About this programme

5/6. Successful West End actor Tony Warner's tour-de-force performance as Macbeth is the toast of the Duke of Cambridge Theatre, but his overbearing personality makes life hell for his fellow thespians. It would be very bad luck indeed if he was suddenly indisposed in some way - although not for Jim, his ever-hopeful understudy. Starring Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton, Lyndsey Marshal and Julia Davis.

Cast and crew

Cast

Kirstie
Rosie Cavaliero
Tony
Steve Pemberton
Jim
Reece Shearsmith
Bill
Roger Sloman
Jean
Di Botcher
Laura
Lyndsey Marshal
Felicity
Julia Davis
Nick
Richard Cordery
Malcolm
Bruce Mackinnon
Macduff
Jo Stone-Fewings

Crew

Director
David Kerr
Producer
Adam Tandy
Writer
Steve Pemberton
Writer
Reece Shearsmith
Categories
Comedy