John Derum plays Slips Cordon. Pic Katy Green Loughrey. Pic Katy Green Loughrey
John Derum plays Slips Cordon. Pic Katy Green Loughrey. Pic Katy Green Loughrey

Where was I?… I should know because I was there! Oh, yes, The Old Fitzroy to see John Derum strut his stuff as “Slips” Cordon in LEGEND! “Slips” Cordon – A Safe Pair of Hands.

The title is ironic as Slips proceeds to strip the iconic – the sacred cows of Australia stewed in a casserole of self aggrandisement.

It’s a buffet of bull-dust with two of the sacred cows less bovine than
equine as “Slips” puts the slipper into Phar Lap and Simpson’s donkey.

Indeed, an extract from the play, The ‘true’ story of Simpson at Gallipoli was awarded “Best Overall Production” and John Derum awarded “Best Actor” at Short and Sweet, Sydney 2009.

Author Pat Sheil was spurred on by these triumphs to enlarge “Slips” cantankerous rants to make a bigger production, encompassing the entire history of Australia and “Slips”’ significant contribution to it, from founding father of federation to fondling further the foundation garments of Melba, -tall poppy lopping with tall tale telling poppycock.

Icons, heroes and legends, the famous and the infamous are targeted and dust-binned as the raconteur reminisces – history rewritten with him at centre stage, hogging the spotlight and reducing all others to supporting players.

John Derum further cements his legendary status as a theatrical yarn spinner as he slips on the persona of Cordon and regales the audience with piss-elegant larrikin eloquence, illustrating the stories with bat, gun and sword, while prowling his cluttered but cultured living room, replete with posters of Errol Flynn films and a mock shrine to Don Bradman.

Tony Youlden, credited as technical consultant, works his lighting magic in the intimate space and director Lex Marinos steers Sheil’s show of delusional bombast clear of any shipwrecking shores and into the safe harbour of cheering applause.

The recent renovation to the Old Fitz theatre space by current custodians, Sydney Independent Theatre Company, is also to be applauded, providing a cleaner line for both performers and actors.

See LEGEND before it passes, well, into legend.

LEGEND!- “SLIPS CORDON”- A SAFE PAIR OF HANDS opened at the Old Fitzroy Theatre on Thursday 30th January and is playing until the 15th February, 2014.