Tour De Ned – Ned Boulting Wyvern Theatre

Ned discusses his time covering the 2018 Tour de France, taking us on an ambling roll through the 21 stages of cheap hotels, ‘sprinty’ sprints, rogue gendarmes, pristine dental work, ‘climby’ climbs, kebabs and cathedrals from July’s grandest three-week sporting spectacle.

I went to Boulting’s show last year (Bikeology) and am pleased to report that he’s chopped out 2017’s l’histoire du velo; after a brief meander through the foundations of Francophile science-fiction, via a bike shop named Jesus, we were bang in to the action of 2018’s Grand Boucle.

With a show-time of two hours plus, Tour De Ned is paced very well. It’s injected with plenty of humour, ridicule and respect for the bike racers in this year’s tour, as well as Boulting’s colleagues in the press tent and production team.

The show invokes the philosophy of great French thinkers ranging from Descartes to Sartres, without too much pretention, to make mildly interesting points about the many existential crisis that can afflict a journalist, when covering a 3,349km bike race with more historic baggage than Ryan Air’s lost luggage warehouse.

Ned is joined by the ghost of TdF founder, Henri Desgrange, as well a few pre-recorded pro cameos, and the audience is indulged with a nauseating, recurring Peter Sagan impersonation, as well as the worst welsh accent ever uttered on the face of god’s green Earth.

As it’s Ned Boulting, you can’t help but digest it all in good humour; his self-deprecating manner creates an easy affinity between act and audience, however the show is, quite understandably, not recommended for anyone with little-to-no interest in the sport of cycling.

I was a little worried, having seen his show at the Wyvern last year, that I might experience some déjà vu, but it was nearly all fresh material and I shall certainly be returning in 2019 when the man on the silly folding bike rolls his way back on to the Wyvern’s stage. - by Joseph Theobald