Sh!t Theatre. Adelaide Fringe. The Studio Holden Street Theatres. 12 Feb 2020
Sh!t Theatre and its Drink Rum with Expats production is nothing less than volcanic agitprop theatre. It erupts with wild, bold, and brave political intensity coloured with flaming showers of satirical acid.
Its two British performers, Rachel Biscuit and Louise Mothersole, present themselves as hard-drinking, facile expat dropouts who, like myriad others, have found a haven of easy, boozy life in Malta. They have their faces clowned up in red and white Maltese flag greasepaint and wear nautical jackets atop summer holiday shorts. They open the show with an open bar. Free beers to arriving audience members. Thereafter, Maltese beer, Cisk to be precise, plays a large part in their shtick. So does the hell-raiser English actor, Oliver Reed who, famously, collapsed and died at The Pub in Valetta. He had just consumed 8 pints of lager, 12 shots of rum and half a bottle of whiskey washed down with cognac in a drinking competition with sailors.
The Pub is now a shrine to Reed and a prime gathering place for expatriates.
In this multi-media presentation, Sh!t Theatre introduces the expats with marvellous ink drawings, thus populating their depiction of hard-drinking Malta.
They down a few drinks as they do so, even offering nips of rum to the audience before launching off stools into their midst and creating quite a precedent in Holden Street.
They throw in singalongs and language lessons, wild abandon, and general hilarity. They sing in exquisite harmony, by the way. They even do a spot of dancing in what is an explosively high-energy performance.
But their nitty-gritty, the soul of the show, is deathly serious tales of injustice and corruption, albeit wrapped in colourful sardonic wit. Thus, we learn, among those seeking the sweet life in Malta are refugees. Some of them make it to those wee rock islands in the Med. Some don’t. Being sent back to Libya is a gruesome fate.
Then there is the intriguing piece of Valetta graffiti: "Who Killed Daphne?” There’s a tale and a half behind that question. They tell it. The audience quakes.
These two madcap, over-the-top, brimmingly talented performers turn out to be social justice guerrillas of the stage.
They have brought us a sizzlingly brilliant piece of what-the-fringe-is-all-about theatre. It is a must-see. It will be shining out as arguably the top show of 2020. And that is a big call so early in the piece and in a competitive field which exceeds 1000.
See it now.
NOTE: Saluting this amazing piece of theatre, winner of the Holden Street Theatres’ Edinburgh Fringe Award of 2019, Holden Street has set up its own Fringe 2020 FOOD HUT nightly serving among its local produce fare, specialist cuisine of Malta.
When: 12 Feb to 15 Mar
Where: Holden Street Theatres