Review: Courtney Act: Under the Covers

The Drag Race and Big Brother star showcases her singing and inclusivity in this warm, chatty show

★★★
cabaret review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Courtney Act: Under the Covers
Published 07 Aug 2018

Lots of important things happen in the bedroom. For Courtney Act, winner of Celebrity Big Brother and a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, her top two are sleeping and eating. Sex takes third place, but she still has a lot to say on the matter.

With intimate discussion and bold takes on frequently-covered songs, she riffs on who we are in and out of bed. A chatty introduction about the different types of adhesive used to create her look, for example, leads into her interpretation of ‘Valerie’. Act is a phenomenal singer with the ability to deliver a range of vocal styles, from soul to country to pop. Her re-writes are both funny and thematically embedded into whichever topic she’s talking about at the time – Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ becomes ‘I’m Vegan’ and Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’ is now ‘Like a Version’.

Act spends a lot of time talking casually about identity, gender and her experiences on Big Brother, amongst other things. These sections come across as partially improvised, which makes them feel genuine, but they lack a solid structure and smooth transitions. There are a few in-jokes and references that those who haven’t seen her on Big Brother or Drag Race won’t get, but not enough to alienate new audiences.

There’s a wholesomeness to Courtney Act that’s hugely appealing, and her concluding talk about the importance of labels in helping marginalised people feel less alone resonates as powerfully as her take on ‘I Will Always Love You’.