Alan Ayckbourn play opens Welwyn Garden City theatre’s new season

PUBLISHED: 21:43 22 September 2011 | UPDATED: 22:06 22 September 2011

Man of the Moment is the opening play in the new season at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City

Man of the Moment is the opening play in the new season at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City

John Davies

THE Barn kicks off its new season by risking flooding the Welwyn Garden City theatre’s stage.

Alan Ayckbourn’s Man of the Moment plays at the Handside Lane venue from tomorrow (Friday) until Saturday, October 1.

Once again the popular playwright infuses his dry wit and dark comedy into a tale in which morality in the modern world and the amorality of the media is highlighted.

Likely to be the only play in history to have a swimming pool on stage that an actor must actually be able to swim in, the play follows TV presenter Jill as she reunites a bank robber with the have-a-go-hero who attempted to disarm him 17 years previously in an armed robbery.

Since his release from jail, hardened criminal Vic, played by Mark Skrebels, has become a best-selling author and TV star.

However, Douglas (Mel Powell), the ordinary clerk who disarmed Vic during the robbery, in contrast, has been completely forgotten.

As master of comedy Ayckbourn said in the Evening Standard on January 12, 1990: “Good people don’t make good TV.”

Barn director Godfrey Marriott said: “Man of the Moment is Alan Ayckbourn’s profoundly funny play about crime, punishment, reality television, comfort eating and double-glazing.

“A confrontation between good and evil that starts on the crime-ridden streets of Purley, just off the A23, and ends 17 years later outside a rather cheap villa in Majorca or somewhere, coming up next on BBC Whatever. A comedy for anyone who has ever watched TV and complained about it all the way through.”

There are nightly performances at 8pm during the play’s run, with a matinee performance on the second Saturday at 2.30pm.

Tickets cost £10 but are no longer available from Campus West, in WGC. Instead, they are available directly from the Barn Theatre – online at (click on the Barn link above right), by telephone on 01707 324300 Monday to Friday 9am to 7pm, and in person on performance nights from 7pm to 9.30pm.

There are also three free-of-charge pre- and post-show talks during the run.

Director Godfrey Marriott explains how and why there is so much water before the performance on Wednesday, September 28 at 7.30pm in the clubroom.

Dr Cindy Lawford considers Ayckbourn’s interest in the Great Train Robber Buster Edwards the following night, again at 7.30pm.

After the performance on Friday, September 30 cast members will stay on stage to answer audience questions.

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