Slight break with tradition today. Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher (2011…) is not a movie. It is a show. It is a one man show. Not a movie. Yet I write anyhow. I have been having a hard time finding inspiration in the cinematic world as of late. I blame myself. Also a neverending host of ho-hum movies. Naturally when I see something that really excites me I feel a strange compulsion to write about it. I call it the twinge.
Humphrey Ker’s award winning one man show, Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher, was quite a sneaky surprise to weasel its way onto my schedule. I was told of a show (via facebook, perhaps you’ve heard of it) that it was playing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Hollywood. The friend who invited me said that a friend of his (Ker) was putting on some sort of play and that it would be funny and that I should go. Not knowing anything beyond this, I only had to glance at the title once to seriously consider thinking about it.
I had seen some bad shows before. Would this disappoint me too?
Traffic on a Wednesday night might not be too terrible, but who to go with me? Surely folks would be clamoring to see the so-called smashing of Nazis. I was quite dumfounded to discover that many people I invited were either not interested, too busy, or just didn’t feel like it. So basically I am writing this with a dual purpose. A: to tell of my enjoyment of the show and admiration for its performer and B: to stick it to all those tinkling stuffy posh anus-nibblers who missed out. The apathetic flakedom, which is the Southern California mentality, is an infectious disease and can lead to being extremely dull if not treated with sporadic doses of culture.
But really, I also want to encourage people to see shows. The movies are great. . . can be great, but sometimes breaking up your week with a real event can be refreshing and unforgettable. See more shows.
We made it to the theater (one gangly fellow did agree to go) and we spent about 28 minutes locating a parking space. We waited in line. Our hands were stamped. We joked and laughed and pondered the proximity of a pisser to purge our bladders. The doors were opened. We entered. We sat down in the tiny, intimate, black-box theater. We purged our bladders. We sat back down. There was an excessive amount of scarves that night. This was an upscale hipster’s Hollywood. The lights dimmed. The show started.
Actual review: comedian and actor from across the pond, Humphrey Ker, is a fine performer and he has a sharp wit to boot. His piece follows the narrative of a young British soldier who specializes in things Romanian, the eponymous Dymock Watson. From a series of suspicious murders, to secret orders, torrid romance, intrigue, espionage, mistaken identities, magic, and an invisible dog that puts Uggie from The Artist to shame, Ker takes us on a real journey. Clever character pops and well-timed costume changes abound in this laugh-a-line WWII spy farce that takes shots at every period war movie cliche in the book. I was reminded of some of my favorites like The Guns of Navarone, The Devil’s Brigade, and The Bridge On the River Kwai.
When Dymock Watson finds himself parachuting out of a plane and deep behind enemy lines and his team getting shorter by the minute, it soon becomes apparent that if anyone is going to be able to complete the mission and blow up the dam (smashing the Nazis) it’s going to be Dymock. But there is a saboteur in their midst, but who could it be?
I really enjoyed the cleverness of the jokes. I like clever things, you see. Virtually every line of this wonderful story is either a great line or a humorous set-up. The performer runs the gamut from broader comedy involving clever anachronistic dialogue and funny observations about the times to subtler, smarter jokes with material gleaned from history, literature, and elsewhere. I also really appreciate that most of the humor derives from the characters themselves. In addition to Ker’s excellent writing, he also displays his keenness to ad lib with the audience when the occasion calls for it. The story is not merely slapdash, but highly engaging and entertaining. You feel like you go on an epic journey with Dymock, despite the minimalism of the stage. Ker himself proves his written abilities as well as his talents as a performer. Basically I loved it like a Russian girl loves Americans. Yeah, I don’t know either. The ads on certain cites always say that. I highly enjoyed myself and found that it was well worth the price of admission, the headache finding someone to go with, and the drive.
Some of the best comedians tell stories. From Bill Cosby to Louis C. K., some comedians know how to stretch out a story and squeeze out all the comedy. Humphrey Ker takes things in a slightly different direction. He takes archetypes from a classic war drama and throttles them into humor. For approximately 50 minutes Ker dons many characters (whose jingoistic identities may seem strangely familiar) and wields them all well to convey a fun plot that leaves plenty of room for nonstop laughs. It’s not just a joke story. It’s something bigger than that.
You know how disappointing the trailers for Jackboots on Whitehall (2010) looked? (Especially if you’ve seen Team America: World Police). This is way better. I don’t want to spoil too much of the show, so just go see it. You will laugh and you will thank me.
You might be asking yourself, “Well, that’s great, BurrelloSubmarine, but you’re a movie reviewer. What background qualifications could you possibly have to evaluate the aesthetic and emotional effectiveness of this limey’s stage show?” First off, don’t use the term limey. We say lobsterbacks now. Secondly, I have a wealth of expertise in judging spoken performances, you presumptuous twit. I have been involved in the world of forensics (or speech & debate) for many years as both competitor, coach, and judge and I think I know what I’m talking about. Apart from that I done lol’d most heartily and that should be good enough for anybody.
Go see Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher if you can. Humphrey Ker is a wonderful entertainer with brilliant comic timing. And moreover, just go to a live show. The movie theaters have enough of your money. It’s time to smash some Nazis, kids.
This show really inspired me. Someday, Lord willing, I want to do a one-man-show.