Broadway World sat down with star, Tom Barnes.
Source: Gary Naylor – BroadwayWorld.com
2 Magpies Theatre’s Ventoux tells the story of the ascent of the Tour de France’s most feared mountain by Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani, two very different men whose lives were briefly intertwined in contrasting tragedies. Gary Naylor, who reviewed the show here, caught up with Tom Barnes (right in photo) as the show hit the road for a three month tour of the UK.
“Matt Wilks and I were doing degrees in International Security and Terrorism at University of Nottingham where we got involved in student theatre and visited Edinburgh. We thought it would be nice to give this theatre stuff a go as a thing to do! We never thought that four years later we’d be touring shows.
“We started from scratch. For the first show we did – The Litvinenko Project in 2013 – we had time, but no money and no space, so we made a show that we could perform together by just talking. We started in Nottingham, then went to Leicester and Oxford and things got moving. When we worked on Ventoux, we got bigger theatres on board – The Curve in Leicester were particularly supportive.
“I got interested in cycling in 2012 with The Olympics and Bradley Wiggins’ Yellow Jersey. Reading about racing made me aware of aspects of the history of the sport, and the story of Stage 12 in the 2000 edition stayed with me. I knew about Lance Armstrong because he was in the news for his doping, but I didn’t know much about Marco Pantani. The way the perception of the race and of the riders has changed over time is interesting, particularly with the fact that their showdown came on this mountain. There’s something unique about Mont Ventoux.
“I didn’t think anyone would be interested in seeing the show! But we started watching various films and what interested us were the rivals’ own words and what that told us about their characters.
“The men are archetypal tragic heroes, the best at what they do, but also fundamentally flawed, so similar, yet so different as well. We wanted to explore why Pantani is revered (for all his misdeeds), yet Armstrong vilified, though the bullying, the law suits and the lying do make him a bad human being. The audience know most of that about Armstrong, so we needed to give them an alternative perspective – we show how he did amazing things to support people with cancer. The challenge became one of softening Armstrong a little and also showing that Pantani had a dark side, despite the love he inspires, for all the faults (say, like Diego Maradona or Paul Gascoigne). By the end of the show, the two of us are wearing the same clothes, alike, two men indistinguishable.
“The universal story is about dealing with ambition and the short cut offered by cheating – a human dilemma – and the subsequent price to be paid.”
Read the Full Interview HERE.
You can book to see Ventoux when is arrives in Margate on 28 May ONLINE or by calling the Box Office on 01843 292795