The Sick of Fringe presents a weekend festival of theatre and performance and ideas exploring the connections between health and art in London in February 2017.
The festival will also see a new commission from sequin-clad artists Bourgeois & Maurice at the Wellcome Collection who will explore sex and drug-resistant infections using musical comedy.
Attitude took the chance to speak to the duo about their latest commission, and they’ll leave you snorting with laughter.
Describe yourselves to unsuspecting guests that might want to see your show for the first time.
Bourgeois: We’re the Zoella and Alfie of alt drag perf art. But less political. Our shows are insanely expensive arena gig spectaculars, shrunk down to budget basement-size so that we look #humble.
Maurice: Beyonce stole all our ideas.
Bourgeois: We write songs about ‘issues’. Usually things we don’t know anything about.
Maurice: So obviously we were thrilled when the Wellcome Trust offered to let us talk about medicine and interview some doctors.
Bourgeois: I actually failed my science GCSE. True fact.
You’re exploring sex and drug resistant infections in your show at The Sick of the Fringe. What wonders are you going to deliver for us on the day?
Bourgeois: This is very different to one of our usual shows. It’s 15 minutes long, for starters, which suits us better because our attention spans are only 140 characters long.
Maurice: In our old shows we would talk directly to the audience and sometimes touch them and stuff. Since we started researching drug resistant infections, we’ve realised that’s a bad idea. Audiences are disgusting, and riddled with potentially life-threatening microbes.
Bourgeois: We’ve had sequin couture hazmat suits made for ‘Antibiotic Apocalypse’, so that we can perform safely inside a hermetically sealed environment.
Maurice: The main message of this show is that if we don’t get a handle on drug-resistant infections asap, we’re all going to be dying of really basic medieval shit within twenty years. But we’ve written a disco song about it, so it sounds more fun than that.
Have you ever been blessed with an STI? What was it?
Bourgeois: We only ever have sex with our own reflections but we’re certainly no stranger to scabies.
Do you know who you got it from?
Maurice: Yes – our auntie Pam. She makes our costumes and her house is a public health nightmare. We call her Mad Aunt Pam because she’s clinically insane and a danger to society.
What’s your advice on how you tell your boyfriend of five years that you’ve given them an STI?
Bourgeois: Tell him you’re sorry it’s taken five years – you just wanted to find the perfect one.
How would you tell last week’s three one night stands that they have syphilis? Asking for a friend…
Maurice: Make yourself a drag alter ego, invite all your recent shags to a show without letting them know your real identity and break the bad news to them in the form of a comedy song. Works for us.
Is super-gonorrhoea as cool as it’s made out to be?
Bourgeois: The clue’s in the name. It is SUPER cool. This is a superbug that is spreading really quickly in UK cities, particularly among gay men, and is showing resistance to any of the drugs currently available to treat it. The best way to catch this new release is to never get tested and never wear a condom.
Maurice: We’re looking forward to Super-Gonorrhea PRO coming out next year too.
What should you do if the drugs don’t work?
Bourgeois: Take out a credit card with maximum limit and go spending baby! Who knows what’s gonna happen next, you may as well have fun.
Maurice: Double check with your GP first. It would be shit if a new drug came along that worked, and you had to pay all that $$$ back.
Is an STI really for life or just for Christmas?
Bourgeois: STIs make great gifts all year round. Birthdays, bat mitzvahs, weddings. It’s Mother’s Day soon – why not take an STI home with you? Nothing says ‘I love you mum’ like an infestation of pubic lice.
The Sick of the Fringe will run from 17-19 February at the Wellcome Collection, Conway Hall, The Place and Camden People’s Theatre.
For more information on Bourgeois and Maurice’s new commission at the Wellcome Collection, and to grab tickets for the show, visit www.wellcomecollection.org/sickofthefringe