Escalating guitar arpeggios, a snatch of the fate theme from Carmen. We’re in Spain, at an expatriate villa, on the edge of sun, sandals, sangria – and death in the afternoon. For this is the Costa del Crime as much as the Costa del Sol and it’s wher Brian Clemens has placed his three characters for an Inside Job. They all have pasts; not all of them have futures.
Greed is the driving force for this thriller, first produced in 1988. Greed for wealth, yes. Greed for sex, yes – sort of. But there’s a third greed to which the audience is not made privy until the last scene, and I’m not going to spoil the excitement of finding out this final twist to a highly complicated plot of double- and treble-cross for you.
Giles Watling’s production certainly keeps the tension vibrant, though some of the on-stage violence is too obviously acted to be entirely credible. His cast plays it all straight with Michelle Morris making Suzy a credible beach-bar vamp as she manoeuvres her tricky path between Alex (Chris Ellison) and Larry (Stephen McGann), neither of whom are quite what they seem at first encounter. It’s played at considerable speed as the events of less than 36 hours spin past us.
For Larry (nicknamed “Dutch” for his surname Holland) has a way with locked safes as well as with bored wives, as McGann demonstrates rather effectively. Ellison radiates a dourly sinister personality as the man with fingers in a number of pies and a fortune in uncut diamonds pouched away in his safe. More than linen can be laundered and can the police anywhere really be trusted?
No designer is credited. The set has perhaps slightly too multi-purpose an air to convince completely as a room in the Marbella foothills rather than somewhere in rural or suburban England. Wrought iron, canework and whitewash don’t quite cancel out that very home counties semi-detached dog-leg in the staircase.