A fast-moving, action-packed story which portrays the infamous cult heroes in a totally new light, Queensland Theatre Company’s production of Kelly is the story of our most famous bushranger currently playing throughout Australia as part of a national tour.
Ned Kelly sits in a grimy cell at Old Melbourne Gaol on the night before his execution. His brother and fellow gang member Dan, who Ned believes died at the siege of Glenrowan, visits disguised as a priest, seeking Ned’s blessing and forgiveness.
While history states Dan Kelly perished in the Glenrowan Hotel fire, Queensland playwright Matthew Ryan explores a brother’s betrayal, escape and plan for a new life in Queensland. The play presents a fresh perspective of Australia’s greatest bushranger through a new lens that will enthral audiences.
Ned Kelly’s legacy has continued to live on as a prominent part of Australia’s history. Kelly is remembered for his loyalty to his family, his readiness to sacrifice himself for his mates, and as Australia’s most famous bushranger. Perhaps family loyalty is not shared as Matthew Ryan’s Kelly suggests Ned’s brother Dan escaped the siege at Glenrowan, leaving Ned for dead.
It was over a century ago that Ned and his three gang members made their famous last stand at Glenrowan. On June 26, 1880, the boys held up the town in a two-day gun battle with the Victorian Police; the showdown condemned Ned to the gallows, with Joe Byrne, Steve Hart and Dan Kelly all presumed dead.
But for years and even decades later, Dan Kelly went on to be sighted more times than Elvis Presley. Newspapers reporting Dan Kelly sightings around South-East Queensland in the 1930s gave credence to the legend of his survival.
Directed by Todd MacDonald and premiering in 2012 as part of Queensland Theatre Company’s mainstage program to critical acclaim, Kelly boasts a brilliant cast of three of Brisbane’s finest actors including Kevin Spink, Anthony Standish and led by the Matilda Award winning Steven Rooke who plays Ned Kelly in a powerhouse performance with humour, heart and depth.
Without walls and raked – this award winning set by Simone Romaniuk, is a simple minimalist metal gaol cell that seemingly floats in space – beautifully lit by Ben Hughes with a haunting and powerful sound design and composition by Guy Webster.
Kelly is a subtle, smart imagining of Ned Kelly’s last night alive, charged with unfulfilled potential and torturous regret, and deeply moving to the bitter end.” – Brisbane Times
Kelly is currently playing at the Geelong Performing Arts Centre (until 18 April), and then will play throughout Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory including: The Capital, Bendigo (24 April), Theatre Royal, Hobart (30 April – 2 May), Hawthorn Arts Centre (9 May), Gasworks Arts Centre, Albert Park (11 / 12 May), Frankston Arts Centre (16 May), Hothouse Theatre, Wodonga (2 – 6 June), Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Wollongong (17 – 20 June) and Canberra Theatre Centre (24 – 26 June).
For more information including complete performance schedule, visit: www.queenslandtheatre.com.au for details.
Image: Steven Rooke as Ned Kelly – photo by Justine Walpole