Dunlop stage show: Road racing dynasty stars in new theatre drama

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Nineteen-time Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop and the high risk world of road racing are set to be the subjects of a new stage play.

The Safety Catch – No risk, no reward premieres in Ireland on Friday, May 27 before going on to tour the UK. It’s thought to be the first-time road racing has been the subject of a theatre production.

It focuses on Michael as he considers whether to continue racing after the family’s most recent tragedy, the death of brother William at The Skerries in 2018.

The Safety Catch play poster

Through an imagined dialogue between Michael (Antrim actor Andrew McCracken) and his father Robert’s crew chief and lifelong friend, Liam Beckett (Belfast actor Fra Gunn), the play examines the glory his obsession brings him, his awareness of its possible consequences and his dread of a time when it is no longer part of his life.

“This is a play about risk, how we think about it, how we quantify it, why we take it,” writer, Nick Snow, also a biker, told MCN. “The pandemic has made us all think about risk in our own lives and how much of it we are prepared to take in order to continue to do the things that make our lives worth living.”

Director Joe O’Byrne added: “It’s about life and death – a lot of death for the Dunlop family, one of the greatest sporting families Ireland has ever produced.

Michael Dunlop after setting the Supersport TT lap record

“The story is a verbal battle between two characters as they try to understand why they do what they do. It is a captivating and fierce encounter, full of emotion, grief and passion.”

The Safety Catch opens at the Glens Centre, Manorhamilton, and will tour Ireland and the UK in 2023.

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Phil West

By Phil West

MCN Contributor and bike tester.