Review: Bourgeois & Maurice

Sophie Luo 21 March 2013

Bourgeois & Maurice

The Junction, Cambridge March 16

It’s hard to say which hit me first: the sequins, the fake lashes, or the sass. But from the moment Maurice and Bourgeois took the stage this Saturday at the Junction, they had the audience’s attention – and didn’t hesitate to make fun of the audience for it straightaway. The show got off to an auspicious start, as Maurice Maurice, sporting raven beehive and a gothic outfit that would have made Tim Burton proud, plinked on the piano while Georgois Bourgeois worked the crowd from back to front, chatting nonstop and proffering a basket of marshmallows. One woman, who shook her head apprehensively when Bourgeois asked her name, soon discovered the consequences of not letting loose and playing along: in one nimble move, Bourgeois straddled the woman’s lap and cooed faux-menacingly, “There are ways to find out, darling,” while the audience dissolved in laughter.

The core of the show was a program of snarky tunes that opened with a satire riffing on the horse meat scandal, youth unemployment, and xenophobia, among other things, and didn’t look back from there. An ironically cheery song about relationships was dedicated “to anyone who has ever tried their best to be an utter cunt”. A rock ballad that had the audience waving their phones in the air also had them belting out “privacy is for pedos” in a hat-tip to the Leveson Inquiry. In the second half, a song about modern child-rearing practices had the duo singing “do you like that little bit of Ritalin we gave you?” over and over again whilst spraying the audience with glitter from a snow-blower. The duo’s irreverence and topicality often had the audience chuckling if not cackling, despite Bourgeois’ quip that “we’re a cabaret act, not a comedy act, because we don’t know any jokes.” As a matter of fact, Bourgeois’ spirited interactions with the audience provided much of the comedic fodder for the night. A woman seated in the front row, the mother of a soon-to-be bride, had the audience in stitches when she was called upon to sing the name of her hometown on cue and added an inexplicable whooshing noise after every quavery rendition of “Great Dunmow!”

The second half was noticeably better than the first. Maurice Maurice’s sullen stage persona, intended as a foil to Georgois’ prattling diva, came across as wooden at the beginning of the show. It was a positive relief to see her loosen up and yowl “tax me, baby!” in a sexy tune about (what else?) taxes. Moments later, she dramatically ripped off Bourgeois’ stripper tuxedo, under which he had on a sparkly green bodysuit, and unzipped her own gothic get-up to reveal a feathered pink dress. The audience couldn’t help but cheer. The two ended with a tongue-in-cheek ode to toleration and the cloud of hypocrisy that often surrounds it– an acute song, although not their sharpest satire of the night. Nevertheless, Bourgeois and Maurice provided a brief, weird, and wonderful escape from the mundane realities of everyday life, and don’t think they didn’t know it.

Sophie Luo