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Bourgeois and Maurice: How to Save the World Without Really Trying (Edinburgh Fringe): Review

bourgeois and maurice Little green people. Maurice Maurice (left) and Georgeois Bourgeois (right). Photograph: Courtesy of The Other Richard.

Bourgeois and Maurice: How to Save the World Without Really Trying slashes the zeitgeist with viciously funny sardonism and glittering sheen.


Bourgeois and Maurice return from four years in space to help us humansexuals figure out how we can save the world, but without putting too much effort into it.

bourgeois and maurice

Cruel Britannia. Maurice Maurice (left) and Georgeois Bourgeois (right). Photograph: Courtesy of The Other Richard.

Writing

Bourgeois and Maurice have been a firm favourite of mine for some time. Their scathing songs and twisted mindset have always been a hoot to enjoy, prodding and ribbing at a sense of dread that was already there, but no one had ever made us aware of, yet alone exploit for laughs. Bring this all together with a divine explosion of make-up, heels, and costume, and it’s no wonder that Bourgeois and Maurice have been a celebrated cabaret staple for some time.

In Bourgeois and Maurice: How to Save the World Without Really Trying, their sharp observations and biting subversions certainly haven’t waned over their prodigious career. In this show, they tackle everything from chem-sex, to feminism, and Brexit, exploding them with devastating glitter bombs of sarcastic song.

There isn’t one song in Bourgeois and Maurice: How to Save the World Without Really Trying that isn’t as cutting or as funny as the others: all are lacerating gems of the highest order. There are still some highlights, though. “Chemsex Party” and their new national anthem are particular side-splitters that will certainly mark themselves as new favourites in their exquisite anthology.

Digital interference. Bougeois and Maurice getting interrupted by Bourgeois and Maurice. Photograph: Courtesy of The Other Richard.

Digital interference. Bougeois and Maurice getting interrupted by Bourgeois and Maurice. Photograph: Courtesy of The Other Richard.

Direction & Production

Cabaret shows need glamour, and by George, Bourgeois and Maurice: How to Save the World Without Really Trying has tetrabites of it. As well as a stupendously dressed stage of fluorescent bulbs and futuristic kink, and their trademark couture costumes (and costume changes) to die for, there’s a wonderful production element regarding video that really feeds into the pace of the show. Bourgeois and Maurice are several times interrupted by versions of themselves that provoke a humour and self-deprecating derision that adds an unexpected and wonderful dynamic. Elsewhere, lightning is frantic and kaleidoscopic, driving a visual energy outside of the fantastic video work. All feeds into a show whose pace never dies or drifts off, and you’re hooked and chortling from beginning to end. Overall, Bourgeois and Maurice: How to Save the World Without Really Trying is as slick as they come and polished to a shine that’s almost as blinding as they are.

Performance

Bourgeois and Maurice are a formidable double act. Their patter is polished and pitched perfectly, yet they still shimmer with dynamism and spontaneity that makes the entire show reverberate. Their accomplishments in singing and performing certainly haven’t deteriorated over the years, and they can still put on one hell of a show, bounding about the audience and coddling them in their immaculate sarcasm.

Verdict

Forget the planet, treat yourself to the most splendid and indulgent cabaret act on the fringe that is Bourgeois and Maurice: How to Save the World Without Really Trying.

Bourgeois and Maurice: How to Save the World Without Really Trying plays at the Underbelly Cowgate (venue 61), Edinburgh, EH1 1JX, until 28 August 2016. Tickets are £11 – £12 (concessions available). To book, visit tickets.edfringe.com.