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Review of Ventoux at The Vault Festival

Ventoux Magpies Theatre, credit Christopher Flux
Ventoux 2Magpies Theatre, credit Christopher Flux

Ventoux explores the rivalry between two of cycling’s most charismatic and controversial Tour De France winners – Lance Armstrong (Alexander Gatehouse) and Marco Pantani (Tom Barnes).

Devised and performed by 2 Magpie’s Theatre Company, this two-hander uses dialogue from interviews, memoirs, media and the actors own footage of their time on Mont Ventoux to bring to life this extraordinary story of two deeply flawed, incredible athletes.

Directed by Matt Wilks, there are some deft touches that help to bring the atmosphere of the Ventoux stage to life. There’s nice use of the bikes and video footage, and Gatehouse and Barnes get to show off their obvious cycling abilities. This play really feels like a labour of love, and the performers’ passion for their subject matter is evident.

Pantani and Armstrong struggle against cancer, collisions, and controversy – but most of all against each other and Ventoux. Both fall from grace in their own ways, and the parallels between them are brought out well in scenes where they drink from blood bags simultaneously, or cycle furiously in parallel. This is a study of the corrosive power of ambition, and the deep hatred and rivalry between two men craving the same thing.

With a further forty dates ahead of them Tom Barnes and Alexander Gatehouse still have plenty more legs of their own tour to complete, so if plays about cycling or the compromises an athlete makes to achieve their dreams interests you then www.2magpiestheatre.co.uk

3 Star Review

Review by Roz Wyllie

Ventoux is the most fearsome mountain encountered on the Tour de France.
It is also the story of Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani – whose drug-fuelled race there in 2000 was the greatest cycling had ever seen. Ventoux charts the parallel lives of these champions who overcame great adversity in tandem, and the mountain that cast them in opposing directions.
Join 2Magpies as they restage the race using breathtaking video accompaniment and a pair of road bikes, asking the question – how far will we go to succeed?

Nottingham-based 2Magpies Theatre create new and exciting live performance about events and issues of global significance including the poisoning of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, doping in the Tour de France and the detention of terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay.
www.2magpiestheatre.co.uk

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