Friday 15 December 2017

Foggy boggy musical gets ready to Knock

Actors Ollie Rouse (left) and Patrick Lacken, both of whom play Monsignor James Horan, at Knock International Airport yesterday
Actors Ollie Rouse (left) and Patrick Lacken, both of whom play Monsignor James Horan, at Knock International Airport yesterday
Ken Sweeney

Ken Sweeney

WITH a cast that includes the Virgin Mary, the late Taoiseach Charlie Haughey, Padraig Flynn and even Pope John Paul II, the musical based on the life of Monsignor James Horan is truly off the ground.

More than 1,000 tickets have already been sold for shows at the Royal Theatre in Castlebar, Co Mayo, from November 25-27.

All proceeds are being donated to the Mayo and Roscommon Hospice.

The musical is called ‘On A Wing And A Prayer' and the role of Mgr Horan will be played by two actors. Patrick Lacken (23), from Ballina, portrays the young Monsignor Horan and Ollie Rouse (55) is the older cleric.

Yesterday, the pair showed up at the scene of the monsignor's greatest triumph, Knock International Airport, to launch the musical.

“To play Mgr Horan is a mammoth role,” said Ollie.

“I met him a few times and while Mgr Horan placed no value on money, he was a wheeler and dealer when it came to getting things done.

He did things with a nod and a wink and once he got any indication that the powers that be were prepared to support him, he took that as read and proceeded.”

The musical opens spectacularly with the apparition of the Virgin Mary at Knock in 1879, explaining why it has become so famous amongst Catholic pilgrims.

It then moves on to the life of Mgr Horan, both as a young priest and then as a monsignor, when he arrived in Knock to build the shrine up, organise the visit of Pope John Paul II and then build an airport.

The audience will be entertained with original songs, including ‘A Man of The People’ and ‘Foggy Boggy Hill’.

The latter was how the late Fine Gael TD Jim Mitchell – Minister for Transport at the time – described the location, near Charlestown, where Monsignor Horan wanted to build his airport.

Tommy Marren, who cowrote the show, said producers had been amazed by the public's reaction to the musical.

“We sold 1,000 tickets the first day we went on sale,” he said.

“It's looking like a sellout.

Mgr Horan up in heaven must be smiling down on us,” he added.

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