Review: Dymock Watson – ‘Nazi Smasher’ – final performance at Fortune theatre, West End

Posted on 22 May 2012
By Angela Johnson
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Dymock Watson – ‘Nazi Smasher’, written and performed by sketch comedian Humphrey Ker, is the story of the real life heroism of Ker’s grandfather – a commando sent on a top secret mission to blow up Romanian oil fields in 1943.

Ker (pronounced ‘car’) is a self-professed history dweeb, clearly fascinated by the heroic tales regaled to his family through the generations since World War II, and his enthusiasm for the topic seeps into every word of his dialogue and performance.

It seems I’m a late-comer to discover this one-man show, for which Ker won a Fosters Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Festival 2011. Last night was Ker’s ‘last hurrah’ in London’s West End at the Fortune Theatre and he was clearly comfortable in Dymock’s full khaki get up.

Ker’s narrative is slick, filled with puns, hyperbolic similies and modern day slang which knocks the ear askew and draws smiles-a-plenty. But it is the colourful ‘over-the-top-lads’ characters, which owe more than a tip of the peaked cap to Blackadder’s Flashheart in the sex-crazed womaniser Rex Hammer, that bring in the big belly laughs. But such nods to Blackadder and Dad’s Army-style farce aren’t contrived, they serve to entice the audience further into Ker’s world.

With each character Ker grasps the chance to show off his array of lively accents, and it must not be underestimated what it takes to sustain these without fault throughout the 1 hour 10min running time, helping to separate voices and keep the audience up to speed with the action.

The culmination of the piece is genuinely exciting, with surprisingly poignant moments dragged back and turned quickly into guffaws on the beat of comic timing Ker’s clearly honed as part of his sketch troupe The Penny Dreadfuls.

With patrotism alive and well in the UK this year, it’s a great shame Dymock can’t be squeezed into the bill for the Olympic opening ceremony to really stir up the crowd – whether there’s Nazis to smash or not!

8/10 Smashing!

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