Kieran Hodgson's Tour De France Tour De Force

Kieran Hodgson: Lance, Soho Theatre ★★★★★

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 26 months ago
Kieran Hodgson's Tour De France Tour De Force Kieran Hodgson: Lance, Soho Theatre 5

There's an air of anticipation downstairs at Soho Theatre, the kind of of anticipation you might expect from, say, a crowd of Yorkshire folk awaiting the Tour de France to tear through their village.  

What a fitting comparison, because everyone here is champing at the bit to see Kieran Hodgson's Foster's-nominated monologue Lance — the story of an impressionable Yorkshire lad (Hodgson) who makes his life choices by imagining what everyone's favourite disgraced cyclist, Lance Armstrong, would say.

Packed into Lycra, and hopping on and off an exercise bike throughout, Hodgson's act is all sprint, no coasting. As he explains his childhood infatuation with all things peloton, the comedian affectionately inhabits various characters from his past — from mid-life-crisis-scoutmaster to privately-schooled-ultimate-bants-lad. There are surprises along the way; a rendition of THAT interview with Oprah, and a musical show-stopper about the merits of the south of England. It's also safe to assume that Hodgson does an excellent impression of his teenage self.

Armstrong himself — coming to life from a Nike poster and ladling out 'his' catchphrase 'Just Do It' — is both a hilarious and sorry sight, and while actor Ben Foster may have taken performance-enhancing drugs for his role in the upcoming film about Armstrong, we're going to go out on a Lycra-clad limb and say that Hodgson's is the interpretation that'll be remembered.

Lance is a tour de force of the monologue genre, in that it doesn't feel like a monologue at all. So vivid is Hodgson's performance, our brains fill in the gaps and we see a whole film unfold in front of our eyes. The pacing is masterful, and by gum, the ending will make you reight emotional. And no, you don't need to know anything about cycling.

If all that wasn't enough to award this show five stars, we're pretty sure we heard Tim Key, sitting behind us, roar with laugher on numerous occasions. That's better than any award Edinburgh could give you.

Kieran Hodgson: Lance is on at Soho Theatre on 20 October and 25-28 November. Tickets £15 (£12.50 concessions). The November dates have just been added due to demand, and we reckon they'll go faster than a fully-doped Lance Armstrong, so make haste. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 15 October 2015