A 'real Rocky story' that is now a knock-out stage show – and it's heading to Barney
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A CRITICALLY-acclaimed play which charts the life and career of boxer Glen McCrory and the heartwarming relationship with his terminally ill brother David will be staged in Barnard Castle later this month.
Carrying David, written by Tyneside playwright Ed Waugh and starring Micky Cochrane, opened to rave reviews in 2019 and had been due to transfer to the region’s premier stage venue, the Theatre Royal, in Newcastle, when the pandemic struck.
So, almost two years after the last performance, Mr Cochrane, who is now producer as well as star, is back in training for a run of shows which concludes at The Witham, on September 19.
The one-man play is based on Glen McCrory’s autobiography, which not only tells how he became the IBF cruiserweight champion in 1989 but also of the bond with his brother David, who suffered from the degenerative muscle wasting disease Friedreich’s ataxia.
Mr Cochrane said the feel-good show offered the perfect tonic after months of Covid lockdowns and restrictions.
Its first run received wowed the critics and performed to sell-out audiences and he is keen to point out Carrying David is not simply a play about boxing.
“I was really nervous as to how it would be received and that people would not come thinking it was just about boxing. I was surprised how well it was received – we got a standing ovation for every show we played. The last show, in Belfast, in November 2019, was one of the best experiences on stage I have ever had.”
It had been due to transfer to the Theatre Royal, in Newcastle, in April last year, but due to the pandemic, Mr Cochrane’s life as he knew it came to a halt, in common with just about everyone in the entertainment industry.
“I lost all my work last year. My wife kept on working and it was just me and my one-year-old son for months. I got a delivery job just to get out of the house,” he said.
The easing of restrictions and the return of live theatre meant just one thing – time to hit the gym to get back into shape.
“I have to admit I put on a pound or two during lockdown.
“When we first got cancelled, I kept going to the gym for a few weeks. Ed (Waugh) said to keep going because you didn’t know what was going to happen.
“When it became apparent it was going to be a long time, I did drink a bit and ate a bit. Then when things were opening up I thought about whether we could put the show on again and I thought about making a start.
“I’m training two or three times a day now – working round the clock to be in good shape.”
Mr Cochrane says he can’t wait to get back on stage.
“I love this show. It’s a real Rocky story,” he said.
Mr Cochrane said he knew little about Glen McCrory before reading his autobiography.
“I thought I needed to know a fair bit about Glen. I knew he had become a world champion but I had never heard of his brother and I never knew he had a brother with this illness who was just fighting to survive – there is this whole family story.
“I really think people should see the play because it’s a remarkable story.”
Having taken on the role as producer, Mr Cochrane is keen to take the play as far as he can.
“My initial thought was to get it back into the spotlight and that gives me the chance to take it to places it’s not been before.
“By this time next year, I would really like to get some other producers on board and do a national tour.
“I think it’s a big show that tells a remarkable story.”
Carrying David will be staged at The Witham, Barnard Castle, at 6pm on Sunday, September 19. Tickets are £12. Go to www.thewitham.org.uk or call the box office on 01833 631107.