Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit of Sh!t Theatre have been invited to Malta to develop a new show. For many expats, Malta is a place to live and enjoy the sun. For others, it is a gateway to Europe and a stop over for migrant ships. Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum with Expats charts the creation of this brand new show and is a catalogue of Rebecca and Louise’s time on Malta.
Sh!t Theatre are fringe regulars and this year they have returned to Main Hall in Summerhall. As the audience enter the performance space we are met with the distinctive soul-pop sounds of Simply Red coming from the loud speakers. The stage is set up like a pub and Rebecca and Louise are behind the bar, serving alcohol to the delighted audience. The pair definitely know how to get the crowd on their side from the get go and create a joyful and merry tone. The setup mimics a pub in Malta, known as ‘The Pub’, and is most famous for being the place that Oliver Reed died after consuming a large amount of alcohol. It has a traditional British pub feel about it and is a meeting place for many English people who now live in Malta.
Through song and projected video and photographs we learn quirky facts about Malta and how it is a beautiful and idyllic place, but also corrupt. The illegal sale of passports and the assassination of an investigative journalist has added to the tension on the island and made it a difficult and dangerous place to live. The photographs and videos have the quality of holiday snaps and make the audience feel part of the trip. At times there is a change of tone, where newspaper headlines are projected to the back of the stage. Here we see the tragedy of the migrant crisis and realise how close Malta is to the horror that many people face as they cross the ocean. Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum with Expats is at times poignant and other times hilarious. The duo gauge the tone of the show perfectly and give the audience laughs and a lot to think about. Malta is a complicated place and Sh!t theatre have brilliantly conveyed this through sea shanties, live art and comedy.