Hell or High Rollers Podcast Review
As of June 2022, there were three hundred and eighty-three seven hundred thousand podcast listeners around the world, with that number expected to rise to four hundred and twenty-four million by the end of the year. Listening to podcasts is now the hobby of many, and the types of podcasts you could listen to are seemingly endless. From family life, true crime, comedy and sports, there’s something for everyone and now there is a new podcast flying out into the world, combining the chaos and hilarity of improv comedy with the intricate workings of the popular board game, Dungeons and Dragons.
Fresh from the minds of cast members from both Mischief Theatre and Showstoppers, ‘Hell or High Rollers’ brings Dungeons and Dragons to life in a story that sees 4 heroes (or are they villains?) trying to escape the nine levels of D&D Hell and get back to their lives. With three episodes out on popular streaming platforms, and extra content available to those who subscribe via the podcast’s Patreon page, there’s plenty to find and enjoy here. Hosted by the Game Master, Mischief Comedy’s Dave Hearn, we are introduced to the world of D&D Hell and the four characters who find themselves trapped there and forced to work together.
Title artwork by Grace Derrimann
Made up on the spot, showcasing the skills we are used to seeing in Mischief Movie Night and Showstopper the Improvised Musical, you don’t have to know the ins and out of Dungeon’s and Dragons to understand what is going on here, with the idea of multiple dice rolls being used to send the story in different directions being explained throughout.
We meet the four heroes, played by Mischief/Showstopper cast members Henry Shields, Chris Leask, Ellie Morris, and Adam Meggido. Henley Whispers (Shields) doesn’t understand what has landed him in Hell, he’s the good guy, the hero, someone who works to help others and for some reason has great difficulty holding onto his trousers. Gluebrick Bumbledung (Leask) is a goliath, a giant of a man who believes that his whole life simply revolved around delivering jam and constantly underestimates his own strength whilst overestimating his intelligence. Eric Sanguinious (Meggido) has magical powers, but with the strength of those powers determined by the roll of a multi sided dice, you never know what could happen and then there is Ghoul (Morris), a five-inch-tall sentient mushroom who believes everyone else is simply giant and has an attempt of acting on instinct with disastrous results.
Whilst the chaos of the team trying to escape hell, fighting demons, and fighting each other is brilliantly funny, a great deal of the comedy comes from the process of the recording itself. In a wise decision by the whole team, which also includes additional voices from Harry Kershaw and Bryony Corrigan and production by Gareth Tempest, the style of improv used allows for the laughter of the cast to remain. They’re own confusion over the rules of the game and the way in which the story twists and turns results in laugh out loud moments and discussions of trying to work out what is happening for themselves. This creates such a fun podcast to listen too, an atmosphere of five friends simply having a laugh and playing a game where simply anything could happen.
With three episodes out there and more to come (new episodes every 2 weeks), there is plenty to love about Hell or High Rollers and plenty more to discover about these characters. Will Henley, Eric, Gluebrick and Ghoul make it out of hell? Will Henley ever find a proper pair of trousers? Will Eric ever find live actors to perform his plays? Will Ghoul ever realise that he is tiny and the others are normal height? And will the characters invented on the spot by games master Dave ever actually help the gang rather than throwing a spanner in the works?
You can listen to Hell or High Rollers on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audible and online, and follow the action on Twitter at @hellorhighpod and Instagram at @hellorhighrollers.