The imported beers are flowing, the sea shanties are rousing, the dress code is socks and sandals and the mood is defiantly Brits abroad as we enter the theatre/bar.
Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum with Expats, Summerhall, Edinburgh * * * *
But look closer and it is not the flag of St George but Maltese crosses painted on the faces of Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit, who the Fringe has come to know and love over the last several years as Sh!t Theatre.
The DIY duo’s latest show springs from yet another of their quirky research road trips – this time to Malta at the invitation of a friend who is native to the former British colony – to sample some Mediterranean culture at a time of great volatility in our European relations. But while Brexit casts a shadow, it is not their ultimate destination.
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Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum with Expats is arguably more hi-tech than previous shows in that they have recreated their principal Maltese hangout, The Pub (actual name), best known as the deathplace of Oliver Reed but revealed as a hotbed of racial and cultural diversity, where you are just as likely to hear horrific tales of desperate migrants fleeing Libya as you are to partake of a potent homemade hooch called Oh Dear God.
The usual snappy barrage of fun and not-so-fun facts are interspersed with lightning references to Philip Larkin, asides about arts funding, a Maltese language tutorial and some deft switches of tone, particularly in highlighting the story of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was murdered for her anti-corruption campaigning in 2017. Even in the midst of grimness, Biscuit and Mothersole can raise a laugh, with a crowdsurfing migration of their own.
And somewhere in all the anarchy, there is space for the audience to join the dots between a roaring drunk Reed and their desperate dance to the death to the sound of the angry sea.
Until 25 August.