Anna Hadley reviews Courtney Act: The Girl from Oz at the Underbelly, Edinburgh
Drag Queen Courtney Act roller-skates precariously on stage, but soon clicks her ruby heels and finds her feet.
Despite the title, the show is not about the Wizard of Oz (although Courtney wears a sparkly Dorothy ensemble) but a pun on her homeland of Australia. Courtney takes us on a whistle-stop tour of Australia, through her live renditions of Australian songs ranging from ACDC to Sia, but also through ‘commercial breaks’ whereby Courtney rolls off Australian facts including national exports, and where Foster’s is actually made (UK).
Yet, the show is less about Australia, than Courtney Act herself. A talented live performer, in or out of drag, her melancholic take on Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees is strikingly her own. As Courtney hits impossibly high notes, it is no surprise that audience members look confused when she states that she is in fact, a man.
Indeed, it is audience participation, and engagement with Courtney, that makes the show so successful. One fortunate male member of the audience gets a lap dance to much applause, whilst after the show she stands outside the venue for a meet and greet, hugging fans and taking pictures.
As RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni, Courtney Act shows she does not rely on her body, but rather is an all-rounder, a talented all-star. A must-see for drag fans, but enjoyable for all.