Barry Versus Kelly is a play with music by Felix Meagher (with additional music by Lou Hesterman) about the trial and execution of Ned Kelly in November 1880. Barry Versus Kelly focuses on the confrontation between Ned and the Judge, Sir Redmond Barry.
Barry whose harsh sentencing of Ned’s mother, Ellen, to three years goal in 1878 sparked the Kelly Outbreak, is haunted by Ned’s last words to him – “I will see you where I go.” Barry is fiercely determined to see Irish rebels like Ned Kelly punished, but he fears he might be making a martyr out of Ned.
Declining in health and suffering delusions, Barry wrestles with his conscience and the fears that his family in Ireland sees him as a traitor. Meanwhile Ellen Kelly, on the day before the hanging, sings to Ned that he is the Loyal Son.
Barry finally signs the papers that condemn Kelly and in a dying speech asks that his family be told that “I took a rebel with me.”
Stop Press: With a new revised script the show played on Feb 6 to a full house in Wangaratta and a standing ovation!
Ned Kelly – Anthony Penhall
Judge Barry – Felix Meagher
Ellen Kelly – Cora Browne
Chief Secretary Berry – Danny Spooner
Chloe – Luci Barratt
Produced by Bushwahzee • Writtten by Felix Meagher
In March 1987, The Lecture Hall at Port Fairy Folk Festival was the venue for an early Lurhmann – Meagher original show, The Pure Merino Fandango. This all-dancing, all-singing farce unearthed the amazing talents of Baz Lurhmann and his librettist, Felix Meagher (Pictured at the show). Several performances were packed out.