Bourgeois & Maurice - Social Work

This is no ordinary cabaret. Outlandish hair, sparkling false eyelashes, and earrings that wouldn't look amiss on Pat Butcher begin the show, to be joined later by a gimp mask and a loudhailer. Liza Minelli this isn't.Bourgeois and Maurice met each other “in dark times......” but now they're here “to help you” instead. And they certainly provide much amusement and laughter during their hour long performance, gaining a standing ovation from some members of the audience at the end. We are warned at the beginning: “Please don't think of this as a show; it's not designed to be fun for everyone” and it certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea. But the performances are so assured, the comic timing so perfect, that it is impossible not to admire them and be curious about what on earth is going to happen nextBourgeois is the host for the night and is the master of an acid tongue, a superb dry, cynical tone, and a speaking voice that you could listen to all night. Maurice, the pianist of the duo, tends to communicate merely through her expressive eyes as she “doesn't normally talk” beyond the odd monosyllable. This cabaret relies on such extreme characterisation and does it very well indeed. The banter between songs is very well thought out and executed flawlessly, and the sections that require some interaction with the audience show fantastic spontaneity. Their songs are deliciously comic and show surprising depth as well, with a very subtle shift in tone taking place near the end of the show. Clearly Bourgeois's “seven years of training at cabaret school” have paid off; his voice is rich and resonant, with very good diction. My particular favourite was “With You, I'm Addicted” alongside the whole section on songs for children. However, almost all the songs finish rather abruptly rather than building to a climax which does cause some jarring and a small sense of dissatisfaction. In addition to this, the staging is a little messy at times. This is a shame because the rest of the performance side is very well executed.Bourgeois and Maurice are definitely an act to watch in the future. They have lots of potential together and the show is highly enjoyable. With time I expect their performances will become even more polished and, come next year's Fringe, they will be flying even higher.

Reviews by Damian Sandys

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The Blurb

Making their Edinburgh Festival debut with their show ‘Social Work’ who evoke hints of Weimar cabaret viewed through acid-hued lenses, and with a Bowie-esque pop sensibility, Bourgeois & Maurice are a truly unique experience. Featuring bitingly funny original songs, extraordinary film footage and a veritable sweatshop of costumes changes they aim to deliver their melodic, lyrical wisdom to all who need it – young or old, dead or alive, no one can escape their word. And now they’re coming after you…

With Maurice on piano and Georgeois Bourgeois on diva duties, the stylish twosome have toured extensively, imparting their collected wisdom everywhere from Chelsea to Edinburgh, Hoxton to Thessaloniki. In the past year they’ve graced venues as diverse as The Royal Academy of Arts (where they were features as part of the GSK contemporary season), London fashion haunt Bistrotheque, club-kid stomping ground FOR3IGN!, Vauxhall’s legendary night Duckie at the RVT and recently sold-out their debut West End run at Soho Theatre such was the demand that an extra week of performances has been added.

Their turbulent relationship began after meeting over a bottle of whiskey at a worthless self-help group. Georgeois Bourgeois & Maurice actually took an immediate disliking to each other. Recognising in each other the same dark detestation for modern mediocrity and Forever Friends merchandise, they began to string their thoughts into what they later learned is best described as a ‘song’. After eventually being asked to ‘terminate attendance’ at these sessions due to personal reasons, they decided to take on the world in their own way – delivering self-help to London’s knife-wielding, rucksack-armed, neon-clad population. Their sharply original funny songs cover socially vital issues such as eroto-manic stalking, parasitic art students and the crumbling global economy. Bourgeois & Maurice present an unmissable journey into the darker depths of life.

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