The intergalactic Costa Del Sol, otherwise known as Ricosta! Tropical, fantastic beaches, great food, and a thriving ex-pat criminal community retired from active robbery and thieving.
But for one hopeful addition to its cadre of relaxing ex-criminals, things may not be as easy as she’d hoped. While Melanie Bush is no longer associating with the scoundrel Sabalom Glitz she’s finding it much harder to extricate herself from the shadow of his reputation. Perhaps having friends in low places will come with benefits: some of Glitz’s other cohorts may have need of someone with Ms Bush’s skills. But why is the Doctor missing and just why do they have his TARDIS?
If Time Heist showed the modern day’s show’s take on Hustle, then this is the 80s’ show’s Lovejoy. Not a combination I would have ever thought of but by goodness it’s a lot of fun.
This one has it all: gangsters, cons, twists, turns and gruesome deaths. Some of the twists are outrageously big but thankfully they don’t milk it; rather, this audio is content to fire a lot of fun rug pulls at the unsuspecting listener.
As Big Finish seems to have recently worked out unexpectedly makes a winner, this story is all about the Mel. Like Colin Baker’s 6th Doctor, she’s been promoted from cringe to crikey-that’s-good in the character stakes. The annoying mono-dimensional TV character is here replaced by a BF version that is fun but galaxy weary; which is to say, the same bubbles but a whole lot more chutzpah, backbone and attitude.
Add into the mix the ever amazing Sophie Aldred/Ace and you’ve got a dynamic duo any criminal should lock themselves in the nearest vault to escape. And these companions are well met: the Machiavellian 7th Doctor is, of course, the perfect fit for a crime caper: scheming the schemes is child splay for him; and Sylv plays his always-great comic timing to the full. The rest of the cast are good as well with John Banks’s hard done by Mayor (his species a race of Teutonic raccoons, the former discernible from the performance, the latter less so) worth a particular call out; as is Ginny Holder’s Gloria, a definite villainess I’d like to see back.
Matt Fitton is an old hand at writing Big Finish’s Who, and this perhaps feels like a bit of a holiday for him: a chance to combine his excellent plotting with 80s style capers, coupled with a Hustle vibe. Ken Bentley somehow keeps control over a cast and plot that could easily turn into the audio equivalent of Coke and Mentos; the energy’s carefully controlled to stop the story careering out of control but you never lose the sense of rampant fun.
Basically, it’s a riot. What’s not to love?