Recreating the dramatic scenes of the 2000 Tour de France, the MAC Belfast is set to welcome 2Magpies Theatre, for a uniquely dramatic show Ventoux that recreates the gruelling contest between Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani during the punishing Mont Ventoux stage of the historical race. The timing is fitting as the second edition of the Gran Fondo Giro D’Italia takes places on the city this Sunday.
Starring two actors, two bikes, and a battle that captured the world, Ventoux charts the illustrious sporting and personal lives of both Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong who’s highly publicised doping allegations ultimately led to the end of both former champions’ sporting careers; Armstrong having his Tour de France championship victories revoked and Pantani losing his life to substance abuse in 2004.
Utilising stationary road bicycles, stunning visuals of the taxing Mont Ventoux and in-race audio from the actual 2000 Tour de France, the unmissable Ventoux restages the momentous race unlike you have ever seen before.
Speaking of the physical challenges in the production, Tom Barnes, one of the actors starring in Ventoux, said:
“The Tour de France is physically and mentally demanding, and we’ve translated that mentality into Ventoux. The show is the same length as it took Pantani and Armstrong to ascend Mont Ventoux in 2000, and is testing of us as the performers. The show includes the tough training regimes it takes to become a professional cyclist, so the front rows might see or smell the sweat. It’s physically demanding beyond most productions you will have seen before.”
“The tour for us has been brilliant so far. It started the same day as the Tour de Yorkshire finished in Scarborough and ends on the last day of the Tour de France. In a way this is like our very own Tour de France. It’s great seeing new audiences coming for the love of cycling.”
“But that is also an important aspect of what our production is about. Yes, both men fell victim to doping scandals, one even losing his life to substance abuse, but both were incredibly focused and determined to succeed – pushing their bodies to their limits.”
The Mont Ventoux stage of the 2000 Tour de France was once regarded as one of the greatest races the cycling community had ever witnessed. Pantani, winner of the 1998 Tour de France, and Armstrong, winner in 1999, were neck-and-neck against each other as nail-biting spectators the world over watched on, unaware that both athletes were leading a drug-fuelled charge toward the finish line.
The MAC will host two showings of Ventoux on June 9th and 10th. Online tickets are sold out but a limited number of restricted view seats will be available on the door each night.
To complement the show, the MAC’s Book Club on June 9th will be cycling inspired. The latest read, over a glass of wine, is Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong by David Walsh, the Sunday Times journalist who was one of a small group during Lance Armstrong’s so-called ‘Tour of Renewal’, prepared to raise awkward questions about his seemingly superhuman feats.
For more information on Ventoux or the MAC Book Club, visit themaclive.com or contact the box office on 028 9023 5053.