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. He’s seeking Ned’s blessing and forgiveness before heading north to start a new life in Queensland.
But after everything they’ve been through together over the years, and how all of this has affected them, a blessing is not an easy ask. Brothers of the same blood and name, but with very different perspectives of their past. Cowards, murderers or heroes? Life or death? Now, at the end, they confront each other, striving to understand each other.
Referencing historical events, Kelly is the latest literary achievement of Brisbane-based playwright Matthew Ryan (boy girl wall, Sacré Bleu). It is masterfully balanced with light and shade, and the quick-fire banter between the characters resonates with a crass but irresistible brand of Australian humour. Kelly is a fast-moving, action packed story which portrays the infamous cult heroes in a totally new light.
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. 4.5 stars. - Brisbane Times
Nothing in this production is overstated, which contributes to its absolute success. As said by MacDonald in his notes for the piece, ‘in this play the walls of the legend are stripped back to reveal a deep and complex story of guilt and entitlement between brothers’. A stunning, exalting and truly authentic piece of theatre. 4 ½ stars out of 5. - ArtsHub.
It’s a powerful piece of theatre. - Curtain Call
Approx running time: 1 hour and 30 minutes with no interval.