Relentless is the perfect word to sum up 2Magpies Theatre’s performance, Ventoux.
The story takes place across several years, charting the careers of Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani, both winners of the Tour de France.
The pace is relentless, the mountain finish of Ventoux is relentless (clean footage of the climb is spliced into the show), and the fact that the two-strong cast are cycling for a large proportion of the hour-long performance is relentless.
It’s an exhausting watch, not least when the issue of doping takes centre stage. The two bicycles, positioned in back wheel clamps, are used in the most cunning manner as Armstrong and Pantani battle it out for the infamous stage win.
Also on stage are three cooler boxes, used as mountains to demonstrate the steepness of climbs, stashes for drugs, shaving receptacles and more.
Interlacing verbatim into the story builds an ironic perspective, the words’ meanings warped over time by audience knowledge of scandal.
Issue-led pieces should provoke discussion, this one at The Spring certainly does, about the nature of team pressure and ambition.