Kieran Hodgson brings Lance to Festival of Ideas

Kieran Hodgson, shortlisted for Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards (Pic: Esme Allen/TSPL)
Kieran Hodgson, shortlisted for Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards (Pic: Esme Allen/TSPL)

Sport is soaked in triumph and tragedy - opposite emotions which inspire great stories.

And none are any more dramatic than that of Lance Armstrong, seven times winner of the Tour de France, a hero who battled back from cancer only to become a pariah after being exposed for his doping offences.

Kieran Hodgson - Lance

Kieran Hodgson - Lance

That remarkable rise and fall inspired Kieran Hodgson’s acclaimed comedy show, simply called Lance, which he is bringing to the 2018 Festival of Ideas in Kirkcaldy for a one-off performance.

It was a huge hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it was nominated for an award, and now local audiences get a chance to see it at the Adam Smith Theatre on Friday, March 16.

It marks a return to the stage for the actor who can currently be seen in Two Doors Down, the hit comedy on BBC2.

He joined the cast for the third series which is currently on air, playing the part of Gordon – the new boyfriend of Ian – and joining a cast of Scottish stalwarts including Alex Norton, Jonathon Watson, Arabella Weir (Ian’s mum in the show!) and Doon Mackichan.

Kieran Hodgson - Lance

Kieran Hodgson - Lance

Arabella is also one of the key players behind the Festival Of Ideas, and a quick chat added Kieran’s name to the line-up.

‘’It was my first week filming in Dumbarton - just next to the set for River City,’’ he said. ‘’We’d take a lunch-time stroll around Shieldinch!

‘’Arabella was talking about the festival and asked me to to do it.

‘’Fife wasn’t entirely new to me. My partner studied in St Andrews and has family in Strathkinnes so we’ve explored the East Neuk and know it reasonably well, but Kirkcaldy less so.’’

Kieran’s show takes him back to his own Yorkshire roots in Otley and is very much a coming of age story.

It’s set in 2003 when Armstrong was at the top of his game and a true sporting legend, and Kieran was a young lad with a picture of his idol on his bedroom wall.

“It’s about growing up, leaving home and your hero’s downfall,” he said.

“When the Tour De France actually came to my home town, everyone who ever lived there came back home for the week.

“It was mayhem but also fantastic.

“It was a great moment, so that had to be part of the show too!

“As kids we all loved mountain biking and our annual race we thought was just like Lance in the Tour De France. We used to watch his victories and read his motivational quotes and tried to be like him.

“The show is a couple of years old now, but it resonates as much today as we see see people we admire falling from grace. That’s become a common sight recently.”

Kieran plays all the roles in this one-man show which earned rave reviews and award nominations during his performances at the Fringe - a festival he plans to return to this coming August with a new show.

While his stock rises – Two Doors Down is his first big TV show – Armstrong remains in the wilderness but with a desire to reclaim his sporting legacy.

“My show isn’t 100 per cent critical of him,” he said. “I’m trying to find a more sophisticated way of telling the Lance Armstrong story.

“He does have extraordinary determination, and that spirit is admirable.

“He faced life threatening cancer and recovered and came back.

“After show in London I spoke to one fan and they said they still found Armstrong someone who inspired them despite what he had done.

“Regardless of his misdemeanours, he remains important to many people.”

>> Kieran Hodgson stars in Lance at the Adam Smith Theatre on Friday, March 16 at 9.30 pm. Ticket details from the box office or here: OnFife