West End run for epic Tour de France play
Armstrong, Ullrich, Pantani all portrayed on stage
A theatrical slice of the Tour de France arrives in London’s West End next month with the opening of a new play about the event and three of its brightest stars.
The theatredelicatessen company is staging a production of Roland Smith’s ‘Pedal Pusher’, which tells the story of three cyclists slogging it out to win the event.
The trio in question are Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich and Marco Pantani, and the play looks at the Tours of the late 90s, focusing on Ullrich’s win, Armstrong’s cancer battle and triumphant comeback – and the doping allegations which have dogged the sport as a whole for many years now.
Pedal Pusher draws on interviews, archive footage and news reports to recreate the excitement of the Tour, taking the audience through the mountains, into the sprints and the crashes to the winning line. There is audience participation, but according to co-director Frances Loy it’s not of the sort that usually finds everyone sitting on the back row, hoping to avoid it.
“Our space is a disused warehouse off Regent Street,” she said, “and we can move audiences around it using crash barriers. They’ll feel involved, but not in that embarrassing way that the words ‘audience participation’ usually implies.”
Interestingly, the play doesn’t feature any actual cycling. “We thought that bringing bikes in and riding them around would be a bit obvious,” said Frances, “so we’ve thought of more imaginative ways of recreating the excitement of the Tour. That said, it’s a very accessible piece of work and we think both cyclists and non-cyclists will really get it and enjoy it.”
Pedal Pusher begins on Tuesday July 7 and runs until Saturday August 1, showing at 7.30pm Monday to Saturday nights.
For more information and tickets visit www.theatredelicatessen.co.uk