If you like cabaret which is sprinkled with a liberal dusting of political satire, the
A crowd-pleasing feel good show, entertaining the uninitiated, as well as die hard fans.
Bourgeois and Maurice dazzle with an array of outlandish costumes; their initial entry to the stage gives a satirical nod to the effects of global warming. The show starts with a projection reel of political news highlights from the last decade; be sure to listen out for the fabulous Jacob Rees-Mogg gag.
The song ‘Everyone’s at a Chem Sex Party, Except Me’ created guffaws of recognition, rippling around the mixed crowd of the Speigeltent. The line ‘Well, it would have been nice to have been asked …’ delighted the up-for-it audience, provoking a roar of laughter (which was prefixed by something delightfully explicit).
Virtuoso pianist Maurice delights fans by ditching her trademark taciturn character; in a much more loquacious style, she delivers some of the best punchlines in the show.
Bourgeois never fails to delight the audience with his distinctive burlesque-style moves and he illustrates the clever and original lyrics with camp candour. His impressive vocal range is showcased across multple genres. Bourgeois engages audience members with charm and warmth. His comic choice of word mispronunciation (listen out for ‘Fringe’ ‘Canary Wharf’ and ‘UK’) has the audience in stitches.
‘Can’t Live in London Anymore’ quotes the percentage of queer venues which have now closed down, giving a poignant nod to the importance of safe spaces for marginalised groups. A video projection of a train travelling towards London invites rail affecionados to play ‘spot the station’.
The set of ten original songs includes two from Bourgeois and Maurice’s back catalogue; the satirical references to a range of countries in ‘Goodbye Europe’ having even more relevance in the current political climate, than when it was originally written, in 2012. The high-energy rendition of crowd pleaser ‘Ritalin’ is delivered with manic leaping around (after yet another fabulous costume change). Bourgeois’ energy is infectious; his dance moves and audience interaction had the crowd singing and clapping along with fervour.
Maurice shines in her Grindr profile song ‘Tax Me Baby’. I will leave it to audiences to experience for themselves the added comic twist in the evening: the ‘tension’ which mounts between the double act as Bourgeois seemingly overlooks the ‘elephant in the room’.
‘British Values’ is introduced as a potential replacement for the National Anthem; tongue-in-cheek references to war crimes and the rise of the far right are enveloped in self-referential UK smugness. A satirical joy.
Bourgeois and Maurice fans will not be disappointed by this high quality performance. The duo have most certainly stepped up into the next eschalon of cabaret/musical comedy. Style Over Substance is a crowd-pleasing feel good show, entertaining the uninitiated, as well as die hard fans. The high-energy delivery causes you to leave with a large grin on your face. Bourgeois and Maurice are a force to be reckoned with. Catch them now before they exit the stratosphere.