A short crowdfunded film from Rory Cargill and Joe Pearson, this is hopefully the pilot episode for what should be a long running series, and it certainly deserves to be as it’s an absolute delight. Riffing on a kind of innocent almost Enid Blyton-esque world, it follows the adventures of the very young Alfred who has his heart set on being a young detective and solving crimes in the village he lives in.
There’s a twist though as while we often see Alfred played by a young boy, whenever his face is in shot it’s clearly the rather adult Rory Cargill as the wannabe mystery solver. Beautifully directed by Cargill’s comedy partner in crime Joe Pearson it creates a quite unique feel to the short, which is made all the funnier by the presence of a priest (J.P. Turner) who is begging for money and Alfred’s sometimes naked father (Johnny Mindlin).
It’s also a rather special day for Alfred as it’s his birthday, and though he longs to visit Paris his father does the next best thing and gives him a model of the Eiffel Tower. Alfred is then overjoyed by the gift of a magnifying glass from Uncle Dick and Aunt Fanny, with Alfred excitedly exclaiming “You’ve made me the gayest little boy in all of England”, and soon Alfred discovers that the magnifying class has magical powers.
As well as being visually playful it is packed with some very funny dialogue, sometimes it’s joyously absurd and sometimes pleasingly knowing, as when Alfred’s father plans to smoke his pipe on doctor’s orders so that he’ll have “strong and cancer free lungs”. There’s also occasional moments of innuendo, with a brief appearance from Alfred’s father’s dildo being a strong throwaway gag, and even some traumatic gore as a criminal and the model of the Eiffel Tower meet in a rather unpleasant if very funny manner.
It’s a show which has enormous potential with it’s quite unique setting and selection of characters, it contains many a varied type of humour and the acting is top notch too. British sitcoms are a little stagnant right now and all too often rely on a lazy format or predictable jokes, and rarely show even a tenth of the invention and wit found in The Astonishing Adventures of Alfred, which is why it really deserves to be picked up by a major broadcaster this very second, if not sooner.