The Cambridge Geek

The Amelia Project

Ever wanted to get away from it all? Got something horrible in your past that you want to escape? Then the Amelia Project can probably help. They're specialists in faking deaths, setting you up with a new identity and making sure no one is ever going to come after you. But they only take interesting cases.

It's an episodic format, each twenty minutes long, with a different client every time. These have various reasons for trying to disappear, including revenge for an affair, whistleblowing, wanting to get out of a cult among others. ("Others" also includes Siiri, in an impressive "what the hell" moment.)

Each of the clients are entertaining, but it's all hung together around Alan Burgon as the interviewer. He has that bluff, larger than life approach best seen in people like Brian Blessed or Robbie Coltrane, where he throws himself into the silliest of situations with glee. Perhaps best epitomised by his response to a worried customer: "I'm afraid of heights." "Don't be!".

The dialogue is wonderful in general, bouncing along at a great pace, full of twists and turns and always keeping a hint of humour even in moments of tension. Each episode's client has a different style, such that listening through a few episodes in a row doesn't give you any repetition. And it really is funny. I'm still fond of "Put that baseball bat down or I'll taser the shit out of you!"

The sound work is excellent, though weirdly it's the most accomplished in each episode's brief introduction by the host, which has a lot going on. Far more important though is the theme, which is evocative of Moffat's Sherlock. It sets up the eccentric genius brilliantly, though I suppose in this case it's more likely to be inspired by Moriarty.

Like Moriarty, an evil genius needs henchmen, who occasionally make an appearance in the form of grunts. Terribly convincing. And he also needs an strange obsession. In this case, it's cocoa and champagne. (Not together. He's a supervillain, not a monster.)

Each episode ends before the planned death, but this is also a clever way of getting you intrigued by their patreon. It would appear they have a "what happened next" section for each episode. May have to investigate that at some point. Definitely a neat hook, though luckily not frustrating.

In general though, damned good. Very funny, well produced and short enough that a binge should seriously tempt you.

Score 5

Tagged: Audio fiction Comedy Two hander Sitcom Urban fantasy Serial