An inspiring, funny uplifting drama – written & directed by Laurence Allan
Cyclists top the league table in sporting heroes, Mark Cavendish, Sir Bradley Wiggins and – Lance Armstrong, collectively symbolizing dedication and achievement and individually, speed, endurance and drugs. But for all this celebrity focus there is a Welsh World Champion who remains stubbornly out of the spotlight.
120 years ago, Arthur Linton, a young miner from Aberdare, symbolized the whole package of achievement including, sadly and disputably, drugs.
He was a world champion at 24 and dead at 27. He could sprint like a Welsh greyhound and grind out the miles like a gazelle on the Serengetti. He took on all comers in the Valleys and Cardiif and whipped them soundly, humiliated everything England had to offer and then beat up the French and the Italians in their own backyard.
He did all of this not on a featherweight string of carbon but on a bombproof steel boneshaker of a bike weighing in at just under 10 kilo with one single 96 inch gear that a blacksmith would struggle to shift.
Perhaps the reason he is a forgotten hero is the accusation that he was a closet villain. Before EPO, doping and Lance Armstrong, in 1896, Arthur and his trainer Choppy Warburton were at the centre of the first drugs scandal. Two months after winning the epic Bordeaux to Paris bike race, Arthur had died. Typhoid fever was the official cause, Except some people didn’t believe it. Why not? Perhaps some people just don’t want to believe things that appear just too good to be true.
This is a play about dreams and ambitions. And believing.
How? Many years ago, Spectacle Theatre Director, Steve Davis approached Larry with the idea of creating a play inspired by the little known Linton brothers, world cycling champions in the 1890’s who came from Aberdare. The Gladiator was a prototype for the first racing bike, designed in France.
Co-production with RCT Theatres, supported by Arts Council of Wales
Cast: 6 – 3 males 3 females
When? Spring 2015
Where? Premiere: Aberdare Coliseum. National tour of Wales