Sudden death, the arrival of an unassuming individual who becomes a catalyst, and the condemnation of contemporary mores are the themes of Ayckbourn's 1988 play, Man of the Moment, produced brilliantly by Jarvis and Ayres. Less convoluted but more moving, the play centres on a bank robber turned TV celebrity, played chillingly by Tim Piggott-Smith and one of his victims, portrayed as the mouse who roared by Alex Jennings. Janie Dee is heartbreaking as the second wife of the criminal who is his greatest critic but can't break free from his vicious grasp. Most of all, this is a condemnation of how popular culture too often ignores the worthy and deifies the worthless.Moira Petty, The Stage, 20th April 2009
When a play tackles subjects as ethics of have-a-go heroics, redemption and reconciliation, and the cult of celebrity, you fear that something has to give. But when the play is written by Alan Ayckbourn, stars Tim Pigott-Smith, Janie Dee and Alex Jennings, and is directed by Martin Jarvis you can lay those fears to rest.
It's the tale of Vic Parks, a criminal who, having spent nine years in jail for a botched bank robbery, has become a television celebrity. Now he is to appear on a TV show in which the host Jill Rellington intends to bring him face to face with Douglas Beechey - the unassuming clerk who foiled the robbery.
The production retains Ayckbourn's comic touch by asking why society is more in thrall to villains than heroes, and keeps the laughs dark right to the end.David Crawford, Radio Times, 11th April 2009