How To Save the World Without Really Trying

Orbit Festival at HOME continues with How To Save the World Without Really Trying by Bourgeois & Maurice.  This is an exploration of current affairs through clever song and incisive narrative.  Cabaret, if you will.  For Georgeois Bourgeois, the spotlight is always on himself, but his singing voice justifies this; his is the highly emotional presence.  Maurice Maurice plays the keyboard beautifully but in terms of stage persona there’s not a single shred of emotion in her body; she plays the rational, scientific mind.  It’s an effective set up that lends itself to a compelling performance.

Calling themselves ‘probably brother and sister’, and ‘digging their shellac nails deep into our post-modern, post-gender, post-Brexit world’ the two interact in a way that uses their personae to the full; at times warm but then distant and uncomfortable.  Like siblings would be.  Bourgeois pauses disapprovingly at Maurice’s world views, then thinks about what she’s said and agrees, or not.  They work through a series of songs – Chemsex Party, Men, British Values – and discourse on love, despite neither performer having much interest in the topic.  And yet perhaps in the end the show is about how we should all love each other a little bit more.

Bourgeois & Maurice are the recipients of the first T1 Commission at HOME.  Why cabaret, you might think.  But perhaps cabaret is an effective way into what theatre might look like in the future.  Look at the form of How to Win Against History, which has similarities in characters and structure.  Done well, this can be an engaging and effective way to tell a story or to address urgent issues in society in an accessible and entertaining way.

The form is not necessarily original, but the themes are important and presented in a clever and very entertaining way.  Above all, Bourgeois and Maurice are brilliant performers with the potential to make a groundbreaking show for HOME in the future.

Note: all music from the show is available on Spotify.


Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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