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|History Is Now|
Between 2001 and 2005, Humphrey performed with Edinburgh based improv troupe The Improverts, where he met fellow performers David Reed and Thom Tuck. In 2006 they formed The Penny Dreadfuls sketch group, who performed regularly on the Fringe and recorded the BBC Radio 7 series The Brothers Faversham, which was repeated on Radio 4, and the two Radio 4 afternoon plays Guy and Revolution.
In 2011 he made his solo Edinburgh festival debut with the show Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher!, which won him the best newcomer accolade at the Fosters Comedy Awards.
He was also one of the regulars on the BBC2 improv show Fast and Loose, hosted by Hugh Dennis, which aired in January 2011.
And in 2012 he was nominated for breakthrough act and best character and sketch performer at the 2012 Chortle Awards.
Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher!
As familiar Edinburgh sketch group The Penny Dreadfuls splits, Spice Girls-like, into a new batch of solo careers, Humphrey Ker makes his debut with a gung-ho, Boys-Own style tale of derring-do apparently inspired by the wartime exploits of his own grandfather.
Not that Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher! has a particularly tight grip on reality; this is the fantasy-adventure of the most comic-book type, with our dashing hero of the Special Operations Executive single-handedly destroying a strategic dam, with the aid of a beautiful woman, a remarkably perceptive dog called Uncle Trevor and a cover-story that requires him to pose as a cabaret magician.
It is a ripping yarn, with Ker not only playing the titular Boche-basher but bringing to life the full supporting cast of credible caricatures. It’s all expertly executed, with team leader Rex Hammer being a particular delight, a bawdy, no-nonsense shagger who owes more than a nod to Lord Flashheart.
Although the performance is impressive, the real joy is in the gag-heavy script. Although nothing interrupts the exciting pace of the heroics, Ker deploys language with a rare skill, with writing that really zings. There are all manner of delights here, and all used with restraint – devices such as anachronisms or peculiarly meaningless aphorisms that could easily be running jokes in lesser hands are allowed to make their impact, and leave.
There are perfectly offbeat metaphors – ‘his suitcase was heavy… like an Ibsen play’ – and a litany of similarly fresh-minted turns of phrase that are both evocative and funny. The care that has been lavished on this is obvious, and the results impressive in the frequency and fullness of laughs.
It’s too early to start talking newcomer nominations, but I’d be very surprised if this hugely enjoyable slice of hokum didn’t make the list. There, that’s cursed it…
|Date of live review: Thursday 11th Aug, '11|
Review by Steve Bennett
Sunday 15th Aug, '10-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2008 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2007 -
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Humphrey Ker Is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher