Champion of local theatre dies at 72
A POPULAR theatre reviewer, who championed local amateur dramatics for two decades, has lost his five-year battle with cancer.
Friends and family of Tony Flook, who died last Wednesday at 72, paid tribute to the witty wordsmith, whose love of theatre and the written word defined him.
His wife Jean, 72, remembers the joy her husband of 49 years found in getting the perfect turn of phrase for each piece he wrote.
She told the Mirror: "He would spend a lot of time searching for the right word to use, he would not use the same word twice in one sentence.
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"He loved words, he was a words person.
"It is clear that those in local amateur dramatic groups appreciated the fact that his comments were well-informed and positive, knowing that whatever he wrote would be fair and honest."
The father-of-one, who lived in Warren Road, Reigate, wrote theatre reviews for the Mirror for 20 years, falling into the job almost by accident after he saw a reviewer leaving a show and offered to write reviews to ease the load.
Fellow reviewer Derrick Graham, who worked with him for 15 years, said: "Tony was an incredibly hard worker; he was, at one time, turning out four reviews a week. He will be sorely missed.
"He liked to joke, he liked to pull your leg.
"I think his most famous remark was that when he reviewed a local version of South Pacific he said 'the chorus of sailors should have been demobbed and taken their retirement years ago'.
"He was a very fine wordsmith with a very sharp eye. He will be very sadly missed."
Away from his reviews, Mr Flook enjoyed country strolls and was a keen traveller, always determined to organise every last detail himself.
"He enjoyed planning the holidays, looking at maps and planning out routes," Mrs Flook said.
"If we went overseas it would be 'fly and drive'; we did it our own way."
Mr Flook was receiving treatment for cancer for the last five years and refused to let a rapid recent downturn stop him working, until he moved into St Catherine's Hospice, Crawley, on May 25.