It’s been nine years and a pandemic since I last saw the double-trouble act Bourgeois & Maurice. The neo-cabaret fashionistas have the looks, the moves and the dry sense of humour, but are they still putting the pleasure into leisure?
Their act was like super food for thought.
The full house at the Spiegeltent was advised to leave the weary past behind, forget the grim future and concentrate on the current moment of pure pleasure, provided by Bourgeois & Maurice, or just B&M. The piano-based social activists, as they called themselves, had three house rules: no thinking, no songs and no negativity. All three were gloriously ignored, as their act was like super food for thought, there were plenty of songs and their material written during the lockdown was anything but cheerful. As a testament to their gloom, they pointed out that even every silver lining has a cloud.
Their social observations were as sharp as ever, with great one-liners like how monogamy is an all-you-can-eat buffet where you only get to have croutons. Always going against the mainstream, they made fun of veganism and sang an ode to meat. They called babies, those greedy immigrants from the womb, the source of all evil. They joked about how fisting tears the community apart. Perhaps a bit more relatable number was a song about Amazon addiction, something many of us recognize as a quick fix for lockdown anxiety.
Some topics always stay in their set from year to year, like social media. As a sequel to their old crowd-pleaser Social Networks (Make Me Feel Sh*t Sometimes), they now did a number on Feeding the Like-machine to give them another hit of dopamine. They also found themselves wondering what would life be like in the Metaverse and who could they be in their second, digital life. Apparently, Bourgeois wants to be a folk singer, go figure.
Towards the end, they asked the rhetorical question: what’s the point of doing this show? There is a hint of truth in that. The 16 years spent writing together shows in their great chemistry and they are still relevant in parodying current trends and tapping into the nation’s pulse, but they have never really reinvented themselves as artists. Their act is pretty much the same as it was nearly a decade ago. Their music is catchy with clever and insightful lyrics, but did they offer anything new? Not really.
Bourgeois & Maurice wanted to finish the evening on a high note, so they did a Klaus Nomi cover song, since their whole catalogue didn’t seem to have a single song of hope. At the end, the audience was left elevated with a standing ovation. Perhaps in these troubled times, the greatest pleasure is sticking to what you already know and love.