• Amanda Dengate, Steven Rooke ( Ned Kelly ) and Melissa Dengate

    Amanda Dengate, Steven Rooke ( Ned Kelly ) and Melissa Dengate

  • Impressive pogonotrophy from Steven Rooke ( Ned Kelly ) and Brendan O'Brien

    Impressive pogonotrophy from Steven Rooke ( Ned Kelly ) and Brendan O'Brien

  • Kevin Spink (Dan Kelly), Anthony Standish ( Guard ) and Steven Rooke ( Ned Kelly )

    Kevin Spink (Dan Kelly), Anthony Standish ( Guard ) and Steven Rooke ( Ned Kelly )

  • Queensland Theatre Company's Executive Director Sue Donnelly.

    Queensland Theatre Company's Executive Director Sue Donnelly.

  • Sharyn Csanki and Andrew Smales

    Sharyn Csanki and Andrew Smales

  • Bruce Carmichael and Harriet Elvin cut the 50th anniversary cake..

    Bruce Carmichael and Harriet Elvin cut the 50th anniversary cake..

  • Belinda Barnes and Ruth Osborne

    Belinda Barnes and Ruth Osborne

  • Adam Knight and Jen Morris

    Adam Knight and Jen Morris

  • Kim Gorman and Fran Tapia

    Kim Gorman and Fran Tapia

  • David Whitbread, Sue Gore Phillips, Don Whitbread, Colin Fisher and Elva Clarke

    David Whitbread, Sue Gore Phillips, Don Whitbread, Colin Fisher and Elva Clarke

  • Alex and Agnes Sciberras

    Alex and Agnes Sciberras

  • Alison Garnsey and Richard Stone

    Alison Garnsey and Richard Stone

  • Phil and Julie Greenwood with Gillian and Bruce McFarland

    Phil and Julie Greenwood with Gillian and Bruce McFarland

  • A cake for a golden birthday at the Canberra Theatre Centre

    A cake for a golden birthday at the Canberra Theatre Centre

  • Mark Kenny and Virginia Hausegger

    Mark Kenny and Virginia Hausegger

  • Kate, Hannah and Jo.....

    Kate, Hannah and Jo.....

  • David Jacobs, Sue Bennett and Jack Waterford and Genevieve Jacobs

    David Jacobs, Sue Bennett and Jack Waterford and Genevieve Jacobs

“Kelly” at The Playhouse made for an interesting after party play, after the party in the Playhouse foyer that celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Canberra Theatre Centre. A celebratory cake with simple but golden decoration befitting this major milestone brought together lots of the theatre staff from the good old days with many a tale to tell. Not the least of which was Alex Sciberras who was there from the beginning and still pops back for opening nights with his lovely wife Agnes.

Then at the after party, after the play, being inveigled into a discussion about the bushranger connections of Genevieve Jacobs’ family and some tall tales, mostly true, from Jack Waterford was a giant learning curve. Jack reckons the infamous Captain Thunderbolt with his ‘wife’ Mary Ann Bugg ended up in Jack’s territory of Goodooga. Sorry Jack, not true, nor the tale of his ‘wife’ aiding his escape from Cockatoo Island. A Waterford story does that to me, and in the chase and search for the truth I found the gay bushranger Captain Moonlite and that led back to Ned. Yes the Kelly we know most about but are never quite sure of the truth of the story is how this play by Matthew Ryan can extrapolate the idea that perhaps Ned’s brother Dan, the one who purportedly was burned in the fire at the siege of Glenrowan had escaped, and was now on the eve of Ned’s hanging disguised as a priest able to get in to Ned’s cell for a bit of a good old Kelly family biffo, soul searching and hope for forgiveness. Ned had always apparently resented getting Dan out of situations and now the ghost of his past wants redemption.

A fascinating hypothesis, fabulous acting and another myth to add to the Kelly story. And fine face fuzz for Steven Rooke in the Ned role. Which is symptomatic of a resurgence in beard growing that’s hard to fathom and this hirsute phase, or correctly pogonotrophy, is according to the ancient Greeks evidence of masculinity and virility. So we had a beard bonding with Steven Rooke and a winner in the King O’Malley’s beard competition, Brendan O’Brien. One of the beards was soft and shiny because he uses Aesop products, and the other was the winner. So what about an Aesop quote to sum up this “Kelly experience”; “a false tale often betrays itself “ perhaps, particularly as “Kelly” will finish this Queensland Theatre Company’s tour in Ipswich where there’s a grave for a Dan Kelly.