In 2018, with Europe about to shut the gate on the balmy British Isles, Sh!t Theatre’s Rebecca Biscuit and Louise Mothersole hoped to squeeze the last dregs of freedom from their EU Passport in the most British of ways: by getting blotto in the Mediterranean on shots of rum and pints of lager. While they hoped to find respite from the internecine Brexit conflict at home, what they found was far, far worse.
With the Cross of Saint George painted upon their faces and with jackets that were a little bit Captain Cook, a little bit Adam and the Ants draped around their shoulders, Sh!t Theatre’s Biscuit and Mothersole welcomed their audience with offers of beer and cheese from behind the bar as a karaoke backing track played.
The duo then proceeded to deliver a comedic slide show about their work expedition to Malta in a style reminiscent of Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, only with sea shanties, exquisite vocal harmonies, crowd surfing, doggos and free shots of rum.
The set was a replica of the Maltese pub named “The Pub”, where their compatriot, Oliver Reed, died on the floor two decades prior after consuming a heroic serving of eight pints of lager, 14 double rums and 12 whiskeys. It was also where Biscuit and Mothersole spent most of their time while abroad, speaking to expats as they worked on creating a new show.
No amount of alcohol or pub banter, though, could numb them from the humanitarian tragedies occurring along the coastline of the Maltese island nation, tragedies that marked the pair’s psyches forever, and inspired this impassioned exercise of speaking truth to power, of keeping the messages of the unjustly silenced alive.
And maybe, just maybe, by replicating a pub, by handing out free rum, by throwing in some laughs, people will listen to what these brave performers have to say. We can only hope. It is art like this that shines a beacon in the darkest of times.
Reviewed performance: 12 February 2020