Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher!
  • By Tom King
  • |
  • 14th Aug 2011
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Right, listen here. I’ve a damn fine show to tell you about. Feller called Humphrey Ker – old hand at the Fringe, used to be an Improvert or some such, also one of those Penny Dreadful blighters plying their Victoriana over at Assembly George Square. Thing is, he’s doing something new this year - a solo show - and it really is frightfully, frightfully good. ‘Dymock Watson…’ is indeed Ker’s first foray into the world of one-man show but he’s honestly not put a foot wrong. As the title suggests, this is a slight update from his normal turn-of-the-century schtick but invested with such a rich vein of authenticity that you’re utterly drawn in for the whole hour.Story-wise, everything you’d expect is here: the beautiful stranger; the evil Gruppenführer; the cocky alpha-male Captain. So far, so Flashheart but Ker has such a keen eye for genre clichés and skewers them so perfectly that it never gets old. One particular aside, involving a copper-bound bible, had me in tears, and the way that Ker sprinkles his Boys Own narrative with wry modern asides keeps the tone varied and interesting. He even manages to weave in a magic trick or two but in a way that never feels like gimmick-for-gimmick’s-sakePhysically, Ker is perfect to play the eponymous Dymock – a rangy reluctant hero thrust abruptly into the wartime world of derring-do. His slightly manic delivery and gift for characterisation mean this never feels like a one-man show but a showcase of living, breathing characters, each of them an individual. This, combined with moments of genuine pathos amongst the comedy, means you seldom realise that this is just one man, on stage, talking for an hour.Not that the tale is ever boring. Comedy this may be but Ker has also written a rollicking good romp, packed with murder, midnight chases and dastardly double-crosses. Ker’s done his homework and his descriptions of wartime London and night-flights in battered bombers have the ring of authenticity. No one who’s seen Ker before would ever doubt his skills as a performer but here he proves his chops as an accomplished writer and a talent to watch in future. Jolly good show, old chap, jolly good show.

Reviews by Tom King

Underbelly, Cowgate

Lucy Farrett: Lois

★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

She Sells Sea Shells

★★★★
Summerhall

A Fortunate Man

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square / Underbelly, Cowgate

The Cat's Mother

★★★
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4

Phill Jupitus: Sassy Knack

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Nigel Slater’s Toast

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

In 1943 Dymock Watson parachuted into Romania on a secret mission. In 2011 his grandson Humphrey Ker (The Penny Dreadfuls, BBC2's Fast & Loose) gives his story hilarious life. ‘An utter triumph’ (Metro).

Most Popular See More

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets