[PERFORMANCE: Interview] Bourgeois & Maurice
London-based part-cabaret, part-comedy, part-catwalk musical freak show Bourgeois & Maurice (known as George Heyworth and Liv Morris to their friends, family and probably the tax office) have been added to the ever-eclectic and perpetually-surprising Harvest Festival arts lineup. When chatting to an act like this, you never know if you’re going to get the unmasked creators or the chaotic characters; thankfully, I get the former, and Heyworth and Morris are a bundle of warmth, coupled with costume-free honesty.
The pair confesses that they’ve seen first-hand how the character-driven interview can go awry. “Liv’s character doesn’t say much and my character only lies,” Heyworth says, as they both laugh. “We did a TV interview with this woman and somehow she didn’t realise that we were in character and I don’t think she knew what our characters’ back-story was. So she kept asking questions that were impossible to answer, then she asked us how we met and we said we were brother and sister and then…” Heyworth trails off and Morris picks up the story. (The endearing way they finish each other’s sentences is testament to the chemistry they share as performers.) “She was like ‘Oh that’s so cool, that’s so great’, ” Morris says, continuing the story through bouts of laughter. “And then she asked how our family felt about our work and, well, our characters’ back-story is that they accidently killed their parents as children, and we said, ‘Oh well, they’re dead.’ She looked horrified and she was like, ‘Oh god, I’m sorry! We can cut that out. Do you want us to cut that out?’ We just carried on and told her it was fine.”
For performers that are used to an intimate theatre environment, Harvest initially appears to be a strange place for Bourgeois & Maurice to perform, but the pair are no strangers to the festival circuit and coming to life in a field of alternative mental states. “We love it,” they exclaim simultaneously. “Honestly, we’ve done quite a few music festivals in the UK and they’re just so much fun,” Morris continues. “It’s just a different mentality. A wasted, pilling crowd are just up for it, they’re totally up for it. In a theatre, the crowd are a lot more stuffy: they’re sitting there waiting for something to happen. Whereas when you get to a music festival the people are just like, ‘Raar!’ straight away.”
“The thing is, we feed off the crowd, so the more high they are, the more we feed off that,” Heyworth chimes in. “I think it’s always been music festival gigs where we walk off stage and can’t believe that we just did that. It’s just really fun.”
Media tastemakers Time Out and The Guardian in the UK have praised the work of B&M, but the pair are aware that they can divide an audience. “We’ve been lucky. We can be a polarising act,” Heyworth says. “We can be political but obviously there’s a sensibility running through what we’re doing… and not everyone can relate to a man in a pink gimp suit.”
“We always try and make stuff and write songs that we like,” Morris says. “We try to make each other laugh and creep each other out. In a way, if you start considering the audience too much, you can dilute the material. It’s always about how we relate to ourselves.”
Even being dubbed a “cabaret act” seems like a foreign label to the pair; their focus seems to be simply to laugh and, hopefully, bring others along for the ride. “Liv was saying before, we get bunkered into the genre of cabaret but we don’t even know what that is,” Heyworth says. “We definitely didn’t have an interest in cabaret when we started. We have an interest in performing and making people – and each other – laugh.”
What: Bourgeois & Maurice
With: The arts lineup of Harvest Festival features Briefs, Trixie Little And Evil Hate Monkey, The League Of Sideshow Superstars, Rapskallion, Erotic Fan Fiction and loads more
Where: Harvest Festival @ Parramatta Park
When: Sunday November 17
Posted: October 22nd, 2012 under Arts, Arts - Interview, Brag 485.
Tags: Bourgeois & Maurice, Briefs, Erotic Fan Fiction, Harvest Festival, Krissi Weiss, Rapskallion, The League Of Sideshow Superstars, Trixie Little And Evil Hate Monkey