Birmingham REP – Looking For John


Photo: Graeme Braidwood Photography

Looking For John – written and performed by Tony Timberlake, directed by Tessa Walker.

Looking For John is a powerful, heartfelt and comic story of one man’s obsession with a forgotten icon and his journey to get an overlooked hero celebrated once more in a revealing exploration of how and why we choose the heroes we do.

I worked as sound designer on this simple but effective piece of theatre that tells the fascinating and somewhat tragic story of champion figure skater John Curry. An incredible sportsman, winning Olympic Gold in 1976, and an artist who redefined men’s skating through his beautiful balletic routines, John Curry also had a complex personal life and sadly died very young aged just 44. Following an extraordinary amount of research Tony Timberlake tells John’s story interwoven with his own personal account of how his hero has shaped his life. The story is brought to life with minimal set, sound, brilliant lighting design (Simon Bond), a wealth of images and video (Louis Price) and Tony’s endearing portrayal of the many characters he encountered.

Following a campaign by Tessa and Tony the Birmingham Civic Society have agreed to install a well deserved Blue Plaque at John Curry’s family home in Acocks Green.

The show was produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre in association with Homotopia and SHOUT festival. It ran at Unity Theatre, Liverpool 10-12.11.16 and The Door, Birmingham REP 16-19.11.16.


Photo: Graeme Braidwood

**** Stage Talk Magazine – Georgina Randall “Timberlake’s writing borders on the genius using a mixture of interviews and his own personal memories of John, he creates an interwoven story of their lives…”

**** Behind The Arras – Elizabeth Halpin “Through emotional and sometimes painful accounts of recalling past events, Timberlake allows the audience to question between ‘right and wrong’ with accepting the queer community and how much acceptance has changed within the past three decades.”

**** Reviews Gate – Alexander Ray Edser “The play may be small, but it is easefully about big things. The ephemeral nature of fame, the fleeting nature of life, the conflicts involved in being true to yourself. And conflicts involved in being gay.”

Burn FM – Erin Quilliam “The projections of scenery, reference photos, and of Curry’s routine all meld with a carefully selected but unobtrusive soundscape, to help illustrate and embellish the narrative world Timberlake creates through his retellings.”

In August 2017 Looking For John was presented at Assembly Baillie Room at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The Guardian – Stephen Moss “Tony Timberlake has turned his lifelong fascination with the champion figure skater and 1970s gay icon into a heartbreaking one-man show.”

**** Reviews Sphere – Peter Callaghan “This is fringe theatre at its finest. Timberlake’s script is as tight as a triple salchow; his performance warm and engaging, funny and self-deprecating, as he shifts effortlessly between narration and a conveyor belt of comical characters.”