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In 1866, the ‘Burgess/Kelly Gang’ murdered five men on the Maungatapu track, near Nelson, in New Zealand’s most infamous case of bush-ranging. The gang’s subsequent arrest, trial and hangings set the whole colony aflame with a mixture of morbid curiousity and righteous indignation.
This play examines the relationships between gang members Burgess, Kelly, Levy and Sullivan as they plot and carry out the murders, are arrested, tried, then executed. From Burgess’ remarkable death row ‘confession’, to Sullivan’s betrayal of the others in return for a pardon, to Levy’s possible innocence, and Kelly’s emotional execution histrionics, everything about this remarkable tale was inherently dramatic.
Murder, mayhem, love, loyalty, betrayal, honour, comradeship, justice and injustice… this story has it all.