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When’s your next show? Cabaret star George Heyworth answers back

We’ve all done it, wandered into a relationship with our eyes closed. At the beginning it’s fun, nothing serious, you’ll just see where it takes you. Ten years later you’re still together, still into each other, but that early effortlessness is harder to capture; the thin veil of naivety has become a heavy black-out curtain and you can’t quite remember when you made this promise to shut out other people, to become the other member of that most exclusive of two person clubs - a double act.

In 2007, with my friend Liv Morris, I created Bourgeois & Maurice - a heavily maquillaged musical satire act born from a barefaced lie. When a photographer I met in a club asked what I did for a living, I - blinded by the glamour of his camera lens - decided not to tell the truth (that I worked in an office, in a role so unimportant no one ever noticed when I regularly took naps in the staff toilet), so opted for something else. “I’m a cabaret performer”, I heard myself say, confident I would never meet this person again.

“Awesome” he said. “When’s your next show? I’d love to come and photograph it.”

Fuck.

Two days later, panic-stricken, I booked myself in to an open mic night at Madame JoJo’s. I still had no act but as luck would have it Liv also happened to work an office job she hated. She emailed me:

“Mate, I have to fix the photocopier. I can’t take this shit anymore. I’ll do that cabaret gig with you, we can write some songs - I play piano.”

Turns out you can know someone for years without discovering they play piano.

That first gig went well and others followed. Eventually we were lucky enough to leave our broken photocopiers behind and call show our business. We’ve gigged pretty constantly since then and it’s evident - not just because the act is stronger and our make-up is better, but because Liv and I now finish each other’s sentences, text each other the same message at the same time and hate all the same things.

Maintaining a double act is just like keeping any relationship together - you have to compromise, you have to be honest, you have to put up with each other drunk-snoring when the hotel gets your booking wrong and puts you in the honeymoon suite. You also have to have weird conversations with one of your closest friends, such as:

Me: “Mate I’d like to marry my boyfriend this year, is there a convenient time?”

Or

Liv: “Mate I want to have a baby next year. When should I aim for?”

At the end of last year Liv became mum to an incredible superbaby who Bryony Kimmings says is the spitting image of a bald Ariana Grande, and for the first time in a decade B&M stopped performing. It was a strange, scary, enlightening, liberating time, and I can only speak for myself - the one who hadn’t also just become a new parent. The rituals we had unconsciously worked into our daily life ceased to exist and suddenly we discovered a strange new world beyond the act. Taking a break forced me to look at what else I want to be doing, who else I want to work with and what else I want to say but also to appreciate what Liv and I have created together.

In May we returned to our studio (B&M maternity pay is, sadly, shit) but on reduced hours, a couple of times a week. We’re working on our most ambitious show yet with HOME in Manchester (you can read about here), we’re about to launch a web series and we’ve found ourselves writing for virtual reality. We have also, for the first time in our creative careers, started to talk about individual projects and how we can help each other achieve them, which sometimes means giving space to go off for a quick fling with other people. We never meant to be creatively monogamous, we just sort of wandered into it. Now we’ve found ourselves in an open relationship, and it feels great.

George will be performing in Greg Wohead’s Celebration, Florida at Soho Theatre on 23rd June.

B&M will be appearing on the National Theatre’s River Stage on 20th July.

Follow Bourgeois & Maurice on Instagram and Twitter: @bourgmaurice

P.S. The photographer is now a very dear friend, despite my lying, and has taken many, many portraits of B&M and the photo of me above. Follow him on Instagram here.