COLOURFUL has always been a word that perfectly fitted Westport’s Covies. But lately ‘bizarre’ must be added to the cocktail of craziness. Thank goodness their shenanigans will soon be formally consigned to that virtual cosmos of the World Wide Web.
After all, the second coming of Saint Patrick – in these heathen days – is harder to digest than a mouthful of undercooked turkey. But then, like all of the best soap operas, there is more to Covies, than good old slapstick wackery. (Have a sneak preview at the plot below. But shhh...)
On Sunday next, January 10, the red carpet is set to sparkle at the Castlecourt Hotel as Len Collin’s innovative and unusual online soap, ‘Covies’, is launched. The project, which started filming during August last, is one of the first of its kind to be filmed in Ireland and has received huge support from both Westport businesses, particularly Tesco, and across the community, with many locals participating in all levels of the creative project.
At the special glitzy premiere, the first three episodes of the multi-stranded drama will be shown to guests, with the official online launch of the first episode, ‘The Nudie Man’, set to be shown on the following night, January 11.
Top billing in ‘Covies’ goes to Westport native Donal O’Meachair who plays Patrick, and newcomer, Westport resident Paul O’Brien, who plays Vinnie.
“Donal has worked on film before including commercials, but Paul was a complete newcomer to the process and gives an extraordinary performance as Vinnie. At turns you both love and hate him, he’s a very three-dimensional character with many shades of grey as all good soap villains should be,” explains director and producer, Len Collin.
“Many locals got involved with the project offering some fine supporting performances. Martin Curry is formidable as Fr Kinnan, Paddy Guthrie caused a stir as Garda Hughes – actually stopping traffic on Bridge Street. Aoife Carr plays a kooky mum and wife, and there’s Aoife Blaney; then there’s Paul Dunning who is outstanding as her son, Cahill. Georgia Collin and Penny McGovern play schoolgirls Katy and Shaun, respectively,” Len Collin continues.
He told The Mayo News that to facilitate those people who do not have internet, plans are afoot to show all the episodes of the series in a number of local venues on special Covies nights.
The storyline for Covies begins with a naked man on a beach. He has no memory, doesn’t speak and finds his way eventually to the O’Malleys’ cottage. Bridie O’Malley is in her early 30s, her husband, Vinnie, is a gambling, drinking, womaniser not afraid to use violence. Bridie’s willingness to help clothe and feed the stranger is at odds with her desire to keep the peace with her husband. She calls on Fr Leonard her parish priest for help, but Vinnie returns unexpectedly.
Father Leonard reluctantly puts the stranger up for the night in a barn but the next morning he has disappeared. Ultimately, the stranger is found at the foot of Croagh Patrick, where he causes a stir as he announces that his name is Patrick. A deaf old man hears this and attributes a miracle to the stranger now named Patrick.
In the following episodes, Fr Leonard and Bridie try to help Patrick regain his memory, but there are those in the community who believe that he is some kind of saint. This does not go down well with Fr Leonard’s superiors. At the same time Garda Burke is on the trail of the true identity of the man they call Patrick.
Episode three also reveals the gritty and vitriolic story of Bridie and Vinnie’s marriage and is only suitable for those viewers aged 18 and over.
There is also the Blaneys who provide much of the comedy, as well as the mad machinations of the Three Bitches – think Macbeth.
Overall mystery and subterfuge peppered with strange visions and anarchic and eccentric humour ensure ‘Covies’ will be compelling viewing, helping to put Mayo on the map as the perfect location for the film industry.
Be the first to see The Covies visit www.mayonews.ie/covies
The Mayo News has five pairs of tickets to the January 10 launch of The Covies at The Castlecourt Hotel to give away to lucky readers.
To enter the competition just click here