Review: Legend! (Decorum / Sydney Independent Theatre Company)

legend1Venue: Old Fitzroy Theatre (Woolloomooloo NSW), Jan 28 – Feb 15, 2014
Playwright: Pat Sheil
Director: Lex Marinos
Actor: John Derum
Image by Katy Green Loughrey

Theatre review
‘Slips’ Cordon is in his home, reminiscing. We don’t know why, or who it is he speaks to, but there is certainly no shortage of tall tales to share. Pat Sheil toys with our “European history” in his script, re-writing events involving our iconic war heroes, legendary sporting personalities, celebrated performers, and various significant political figures of times past. These revisions are amusing, and depending on your level of affinity with the “source material”, possibly even hilarious.

Cordon is played by the effortlessly charming John Derum, who carves out a character that is immediately endearing. This is an actor who revels in spinning yarns, and his enjoyment of the limelight is infectious. We are drawn in and are glad to be his captive audience. Derum is excellent at punchlines. Indeed, the show does at times, feel like a stand up comedy routine, where a comedian simply tells jokes, without much concern for context or character development. We do not learn very much about Cordon, but he does make us laugh.

This is a clever script that could work well in the form of a novella, but Derum’s interpretation adds a dimension of time and place that is strangely (and ironically) authentic, even though we are free to imagine where and when the action before our eyes actually takes place. Legend! is only mildly iconoclastic. In fact there is an air of reverence for these legends that hangs heavily over the production. Rest assured that our sacred cows are left unscathed.