There is Something in the Woods – Donors

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , | No Comments »

They left offerings in the Woods

Phil Nicholls
Matthew Knighton
April Alexander
Nick O’Keefe

A big thanks from Index Cards and Hate Games to all our Patrons! May your offerings appease the Thing.

Storytelling for Researchers

Posted: October 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , | No Comments »

It’s been a month and a half since I got back from Edinburgh and I’ve been pretty busy. The list of gigs is mostly up to date for the rest of 2014, check those out. There’ll be pictures from a photo shoot, roleplay games and even podcasts coming up soon so do check back.

I’ve been working with researchers and Phd. students from The University of Sheffield. We’ve been exploring how storytelling can be a powerful tool for engaging the public outside of academia. It’s a topic I’m really interested in and I’ll probably write more about it soon. Until then, we filmed a few of the participants and I thought I’d share. Here’s Rachel Askew talking about some cows.

There is Something in the Woods

Posted: October 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on There is Something in the Woods

You’re stranded. It’s a four day journey to the nearest town, and there is something in the woods.

There is Something in the Woods is a a table-top story game of supernatural survival horror for four to six players plus a Director. It’ll probably take around three hours to play and it will be as scary as you make it. If you want to download the .pdf just click on the image of the woods below. WARNING contains swearing.

Click to download the game!

Creative Commons License
There is Something in the Woods by Erin Snyder and Tim Ralphs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

“A dream to run.”
Helen Apocalypse

And now there’s more! You can now make the game a little less cruel using the Folly of Hope expansion/hack.

This game is produced by Index Cards and Hate Games with layout, typecraft and cover art by Zabet Groznaya. If you’ve enjoyed the game then we’d love to hear about it. We’d also love for you to tell your friends about it and give them copies of the game.

Having said that, if you want to support ICH Games in our future creative endeavors then that would be awesome. I’m a storyteller. Erin Snyder is a poet and novelist. It would be great to dedicate more of our time to cool artistic projects. You can enter whatever paypal donation (in British Pound Sterling) you’d like using the “buy now” button below. Not only will we be very grateful, your name will go up on our donor page. Plus, as a patron of ICH Games we’ll keep you informed of which projects your donations are going to fund and if we ever get cool stuff like optional Valentine’s Day rules we’ll make sure you get them first.

Fringe Guru reviews Rebranding Beelzebub.

Posted: August 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Lizzie Bell from Fringe Guru reviewed Rebranding Beelzebub and gave it a big, fat four stars.

“This is a funny, cleverly-done show that is very much worth seeing: one that will delight, amuse and surprise you by turns. It’s a highly entertaining hour with a top-rate storyteller. If you enjoy tales of supernatural trickery and having a good laugh, this show will suit you perfectly.”

We’re working really hard up here and I’ve been attending a lot of the industry events organised by The Fringe Central. We were planning on writing more reviews but what with three hours of flyering and performing every evening, time has been short.

Last week now! Don’t miss out!

Tim Ralphs is a storyteller and his show of urban devilry Rebranding Beelzebub is on every night from 2 August 2014 to 24 August 2014 at 9:50pm in The Banshee Labyrinth. A PBH free fringe performance – you only have to pay what you think the Devil is due.

Interview on Getting Better Acquainted

Posted: August 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

I took a morning out from flyering to record a podcast with Dave Pickering from Stand Up Tragedy and Getting Better Acquainted. I talk about storytelling, Edinburgh, ministry and narrative in other mediums.

Review: 300 to 1

Posted: August 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Following a recommendation, Tim and The Devil go along to see Matt Panesh’s 300 to 1

TIM: So here’s a concept for you, a one man show re-enacting the movie 300 with critical commentary from the ghosts of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.

THE DEVIL: Intriguing.

TIM: Yes. I think the concept is brilliant and I had high expectations going into the Chamber Room. Luckily that gem of an idea was brought to perfect execution in Matt Panesh’s 300 to 1. A teenage boy, bored at the prospect of having to read First World War poetry for homework, contemplates joining the army. When confronted by Owen and Sassoon, he attempts to justify himself by launching into a testosterone fuelled rendition of 2007 film. Panesh is perhaps better known for his work as the sh*t flinging monkey poet and is something of a staple at The Banshee Labyrinth. He openly embraces the idea that this is a free fringe show, he delights in the low-fi, indie aesthetic. He bounds from character to character as the cast grows steadily larger. He waves his hands and chants “wibbly wobbly” when he needs special effects. And yet, behind the incredibly high-energy irreverence of his performance, is a work that is both genuinely clever and unnecessarily awesome.

THE DEVIL: Yes. It would be very easy to get swept up in the sweaty whirlwind and miss Matt’s attention to detail. He captured the characters he wanted to portray with ease. His slow motion battle scene did a great job of following Gerard Butler’s choreography. The poets provided excellent commentary on the abundant homo-eroticism whilst sniping at the classical references. But I was most impressed at Matt’s subtle skill with manipulating an audience.

TIM: Absolutely! Like the way he built our expectations before the infamous “This is Sparta!” line.

THE DEVIL: And had us writhing in our death throes as Persian arrows rained down.

TIM: For me, the most striking demonstration of how well Panesh steered the audience’s emotional experience came toward the end. He delivered Leonidas’ soliloquy prior to his last stand. His T-shirt was up under his chin, revealing the extra musculature that he’d haphazardly drawn on his scrawny belly. He looked absurd. But he gave that speech with such dignified gravitas and I couldn’t help but feel stirred – a part of me was ready to take up arms and die to defend freedom and reason. And then Sassoon made the teenage boy read dulce et decorum est and the mood in the room turned on a pin.

THE DEVIL: Do you think people need to have seen the film to enjoy it?

TIM: I haven’t seen the film and that didn’t stop me laughing a lot. To be honest, I don’t think it matters too much. Of everything I’ve seen at The Fringe this was probably the most fun. It’s also something that exactly lives up to its pitch. If the idea appeals to you even remotely then you’re going to enjoy what you get. Go!

Tim Ralphs is a storyteller and his show of urban devilry Rebranding Beelzebub is on every night from 2 August 2014 to 24 August 2014 at 9:50pm in The Banshee Labyrinth. A PBH free fringe performance – you only have to pay what you think the Devil is due.

Review: Can’t Care, Won’t Care

Posted: August 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Wandering the nether corridors of The Banshee Labyrinth, Tim and The Devil go to see Sophia Walker’s Can’t care, Won’t care

THE DEVIL: Do we do awards? I want to do awards. I want to nominate this for the Philip Pullman prize for the show with the darkest material.

TIM: Quite! The premise is pretty simple. The show casts the audience in the role of a jury hearing evidence on whether or not a care worker is guilty of homicidal negligence after the death of one of her patients.

THE DEVIL: Not “patients.” One of her “service users”. The language is important.

TIM: That phrase still makes me shiver. I don’t know how it manages to be so dehumanising. Anyway, Sophia portrays two characters on stage. One is based on herself and her experiences whilst working in the care system. The other is The State incarnate, a cruel accuser who rattles off her transgressions and reads aloud from the relevant codes of practice. The story focusses on three specific occasions where Sophia either did not or could not act in accordance with these codes of practice. In between these vividly depicted scenes, Walker explores how budget cuts and re-tendering processes make it almost impossible to provide any sort of care at all. Her clear and abundant knowledge of the system is evident in every word and her anger is entirely on display.

THE DEVIL: She was pretty cross. Mind you, the character of The State seemed pretty angry at her for whining and not taking responsibility for what she’d done. Something with which I do tend to empathise.

TIM: I was battered by the end. Walker unloaded both barrels of fury and it was unrelentingly aggressive. There was a little disconnect for me at the end though. The show is framed as being open to the audience to deliberate on their verdict. I just felt that the decision was obvious. I didn’t feel like I had two sides to consider. The State was so unsympathetic that I don’t know how anyone could have decided against the care worker.

THE DEVIL: I don’t agree. She admitted to breaking rules.

TIM: Stupid, impossible rules.

THE DEVIL: I think that’s the point. Anyway. Poetry. Sophia Walker boasts being BBC slam champion and winner of the PBH Best Spoken Word Show of 2013. What did you make of her use of language?

TIM: I was seriously impressed. I need to do a whole blog post on the use of wordplay and the effect it has on the listener experience but suffice to say that Sophia delivered a masterclass. Her use of rhyme never came across as forced, never diminished her credibility or her intensity. Instead, it served to keep me focussed on her performance. I was hooked and re-hooked by her voice. And I was haunted by the ambiguity of it all. Was everything she said true? Did she collate experiences together into one narrative? I think a lot of the power of the piece came from that and I’m glad she didn’t diminish it with explanation.

THE DEVIL: Wrap up?

TIM: There are stories that need to be heard and there are stories that need to be told. This is both. Sophia’s performance feels like a purge. Her frank honesty and poetic craft add art to her vitriol. This was a bitter performance to endure. And that felt entirely fitting.

Tim Ralphs is a storyteller and his show of urban devilry Rebranding Beelzebub is on every night from 2 August 2014 to 24 August 2014 at 9:50pm in The Banshee Labyrinth. A PBH free fringe performance – you only have to pay what you think the Devil is due.

Listener reward schemes

Posted: August 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

The Devil is a great believer in rewarding the faithful.

Tim Ralphs is a storyteller and his show of urban devilry Rebranding Beelzebub is on every night from 2 August 2014 to 24 August 2014 at 9:50pm in The Banshee Labyrinth. A PBH free fringe performance – you only have to pay what you think the Devil is due.

Review: Wretch like me

Posted: August 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Tim and the talking serpent he suspects is The Devil attend David Templeton’s Wretch like me (or How I was saved from being saved.)

TIM: This is a storytelling show in which Templeton talks about his lonely childhood and how he was increasingly sucked into the Evangelical Christianity in his teens. He does a good job of painting himself as the “wretch” from the hymn Amazing Grace and then explores the theme of salvation, his role in perpetuating the semi-abusive messages of fundamentalist Christianity and the crisis of faith that lead to him breaking away and finding his own path.

THE DEVIL: And puppetry.

TIM: Yeah, he does talk about how nobody likes a puppeteer. This was a wondrous tragi-comedy, ultimately uplifting but, by God, David puts you through an emotional ringer to get there. Templeton is very skilled at his craft. There are lovely little touches, the salamander that becomes a metaphor, the soft reinforcement of the lamb imagery. And his characterisation is phenomenal. So many of the people in the story are slightly blissed-out Californians and yet David portrays each one as distinct and fully developed: Reverend Dude, Righteous Rick the leader of the school bible club and so many more. I had a chat with him afterwards about the evolution of the show and his quest to find a Director that got what he was trying to do. All very interesting stuff.


TIM: Hey, what’s up with you today? You’re being very quiet.

THE DEVIL: Conflict of interests. I have a cameo in this story. I appear as a talking fly in the second act. Tell them about how you cried.

TIM: Oh there were tears. It is the mark of great personal storytelling that it goes beyond the confessional and anecdotal and instead touches something universal, something that might be called archetypal. I can’t say for sure how well Wretch like me manages that, but I found this story deeply personally affecting. Perhaps that has something to do with my own spiritual journey. It’s been exactly a year since I was ordained as a Minister. I’ve known plenty of people who have been deeply hurt by religious institutions and Wretch like me resonated keenly. But more than weep, I really wanted to dance. If I’d been a shade less inhibited, I’d have been up at the end dancing in the aisles as Templeton sang “Amazing Grace” to the tune of Springsteen’s When I’m out on the street.. I was filled with ecstatic joy.

THE DEVIL: Aw. Would you like a hug?

TIM: Yeah. Yeah, that would be nice.

THE DEVIL: Then go find someone with arms.

Tim Ralphs is a storyteller and his show of urban devilry Rebranding Beelzebub is on every night from 2 August 2014 to 24 August 2014 at 9:50pm in The Banshee Labyrinth. A PBH free fringe performance – you only have to pay what you think the Devil is due.

Review: Dandy Darkly’s Pussy Panic

Posted: August 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Continuing the theme of shows with expletives in the title, Tim and The Devil go to see Dandy Darkly’s Pussy Panic.

THE DEVIL: Ahh my beloved Dandy. Self-professed to be New York’s satiric and satanic storyteller.

TIM: Yeah, this really felt like it held promise for both of us. I must say I’ve been delighted by the variety of storytelling here at the festival. Dandy is a glittery, gruesome, extravaganza of a spoken-word performer. His show is listed as a cabaret act and that’s the best label going. Pussy Panic is four short stories loosely held together by the idea that Dandy is trying to get over his deep-seated fear of vaginas. It’s hysterical. (Pun intended.) Dandy is just shockingly charming, even as his laugh grates, even as his feathers fly. The wordplay is tight. The soundtrack and folio effects are a wonderful surprise.

THE DEVIL: A lot of people did look round to see the cat that was meowing out of the speaker. The eponymous pussy.

TIM: It was so rude, so irreverently rude. And yet so playful for a show with moments of darkness.

THE DEVIL: Moments of darkness? Two stories ended with suicides. One with bereavement. The other with murder, abhorrent resurrection and a cult of deformed children chanting. And that wasn’t the real darkness.

TIM: No?

THE DEVIL: No. The real darkness wasn’t wrapped up in cabaret. It was in the honest moments of reflection.

TIM: Yes. Dandy affected a caricature of apology when he said he didn’t want his pussy-phobia to offend anyone with or without a vagina. I was a little wary, but the whole topic was handled so cleverly that you could see the deeper sincerity of what he had to say about the presence of misogyny within the gay sub-culture. In that respect it was powerful, nuanced storytelling.

THE DEVIL: I would have liked more satanism though. I didn’t even get a mention.

TIM: You know what I would have liked? More Dandy. He’s such a good performer I feel like he would have excellent rapport and banter with the audience but, because of the tight timeframe and the pre-recorded soundtrack, I didn’t feel like he had space to properly play with us.

THE DEVIL: Oh yes. There’s the take home. “I wanted Dandy to play with me more.” Heh.

TIM: Oh grow up. The take home is that you should fasten your fascinator tightly to your head before going in and re-apply your eyeliner on the way out because Dandy is such a whirlwind of flamboyance that he is going to blow it all the way to Hell. Right. Tomorrow let’s not review something with swear words in the title.

Tim Ralphs is a storyteller and his show of urban devilry Rebranding Beelzebub is on every night from 2 August 2014 to 24 August 2014 at 9:50pm in The Banshee Labyrinth. A PBH free fringe performance—you only have to pay what you think the Devil is due.