This play was inspired by a true story. In the 1960's New Zealanders began cheering on a car thief-prison-escaper and inadvertantly promoted a small town kiwi boy from petty criminal to multi-prison escapee to National folk icon... A hero who ran rings around the police in his many bids for freedom.
Kiwi multi-award winning star, Tim Balme, wrote Jimmy Costello to set the record straight about a man who started his career by stealing the milk money and ended up doing seventeen years, and to reveal the true personality at the centre of the phenomenon while introducing a host of Kiwi characters to along the way: the bullshitter, the bushman's philosopher, the rogue and rookie, the honest cop, the stupid cop. The Ballad of Jimmy Costello is a "rollicking tiki tour of Kiwi kultcha" (The Dominion, NZ) and nearly every incident in this wild and witty adventure story is really true.
After a sellout tour of New Zealand in 1997, Guy Masterson (with the generous support of The New Zealand Link programme and Visiting Arts UK) brought Jimmy Costello to the Edinburgh Festival where Tim Balme won rave reviews, nominations for The Stage Award for Best Actor and the LWT Award for Best New Comedy Writing together with much international interest.
Tim Balme studied theatre and film at Victoria University in Wellington before training as an actor at the New Zealand Drama School in 1989. He has since won Best Actor at the Rome Fanta Film Festival and the New Zealand Film Awards for his role in Peter Jackson's Braindead and the same award again for Jack Brown Genius. The film Planet Man, in which he starred, also won the International Critics Prize at Cannes in 1996. Tim is also well known on New Zealand television particularly for his likeable Harley riding rogue, Greg Feeney on Shortland Street (on C4)