Interview: Bourgeois and Maurice
The fabulous Bourgois and Maurice catch up with JACK CARRINGTON about cabaret, comedy and exotic costumes.
Resplendent with fabulous costumes and outrageous wit, the neo-cabaret act that is Bourgeois and Maurice has become a cult hit on the Edinburgh Fringe. They’re now creating quite a buzz across the country with their blend of political satire and cabaret camp. It’s all very Weimar. (They even had the audacity to put on a show at Sadlers Wells called “Can’t Dance”). I caught up with them earlier this week to find out what all the fuss is about…
So, who are Georgeois Bourgeois and Maurice Maurice?
Maurice: They’re brother and sister, with a dubious upbringing. They were orphaned and they prepared themselves for the world using television. Now they’ve taken the lessons they learnt from this and put them into musical form. So basically they travel around and deliver their musical message, wherever will have them.
How did you guys get started as a cabaret act?
Georgeois: Well… we kind of were bored with our jobs, so we wrote a couple of songs and performed them at Madame JoJo’s in Soho. Then we just kind of kept going. Somebody asked to do something in another venue, we said yes, got more offers and so on. So we quit our jobs!
Talking of Soho, one of your songs – “All the boys” – seems like a pretty biting satire of the gay scene. Are you disaffected with it?
G: Yeah, I think we wrote that song back in 2007. It’s weird, the gay scene can be so… divided off in many ways. The whole bears, cubs, twinks thing – putting people in boxes – can be objectifying and pretty depressing. So that’s what that was about.
Would you say social commentary is an important part of what you do?
M: Yes, it’s probably all we do now! Most of our recent material, which we’re performing on tour, is quite politically focussed.
Of course, aside from politics, there are also the glamourous costumes. What’s your favourite?
M: I quite like one which is this enormous, black, dominatrix-type trenchcoat. It’s very androgynous. I like confusing people, so that aspect of it is great.
G: Have you seen the Mario Bros. movie with Bob Hoskins? The villains in that have tiny pea-heads. The coat’s so big it makes her look like one of those those. My favourite costume is my holographic, green, skin-tight catsuit.
M: It’s fantastic, that one.
They sound great. Can you walk down the street dressed like that?
M: I’m sure we have done, out of necessity perhaps. (Laughs)
G: At the moment I’ve got fluorescent orange hair and somehow when I walk down the street in costume it gets less attention than when I’m wearing everyday clothes. Apparently that looks weirder (laughs).
There’s obviously a lot of comedy in your music, but there’s also an element of tragedy. Should we be laughing or crying?
M: Both at the same time! It’s interesting you picked that up, because whilst there are some comedy moments, it’s the satirical side of comedy. So there’s always an edge of tragedy or poignancy. You can react to that how you like, but some people think it’s best to laugh in the face of tragedy anyway.
Now for an either/or question: Sally Bowles or Dr. Frank-n-furter?
M: (Laughs) Probably Frank-n-furter, but obviously I love Sally Bowles.
G: Perhaps they had some kind of horrific encounter and we were the result.
So finally, where does your act go from here?
M: Well, we’re releasing our third album. It’s a much bigger recording project than we’ve done before. Up until now we’ve been predominantly a live act. We’re also on tour – we’re off to New York and Australia… Hopefully people will keep paying us to come and perform for them! (Laughs)
They bring their ‘Sugartits’ show to The Junction on Saturday 16 March. (The caveat: “No under 14s… or Rupert Murdoch supporters”)