Courtney Act: The Girl from Oz

From a shared sovereign and a shaky colonial past, to endless daytime reruns of Neighbours and Home and Away on channel 5, plus cricket, Kylie and Rupert Murdoch; Australian exports have been shaping UK culture for many decades. The latest of these exports is Courtney Act, alumnus of American Idol and RuPaul’s Drag Race, who brings a showcase of Australia’s finest musical talent to Underbelly’s Circus Hub this Fringe. For avid fans of Drag Race, the Courtney Act brand is one associated with polish, poise and impeccable fishiness, but from the moment she glides on stage clad in sparkling ruby roller skates, with all the grace of a baby gazelle taking its first steps, Act proves that she is so much more than a pretty face or a stunning set of pipes.

The Girl From Oz leaves little doubt that she possesses charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent in abundance.

The show takes the form of a crash course in Australian musical history, with Act giving her unique take on Xanadu, the Bee Gees and the original Kylie: Miss Minogue. Though the show is undeniably a vehicle for Act’s impressive vocal stylings (and boy are they impressive), the many comedic interludes prove her command of an audience is not to be underestimated. Act’s anecdotes range from funny, to filthy, to wistful, never missing a beat. Her persona, somewhere between earnest high school prom queen and drunk aunt at a barbeque, is ever-sweet and endearing, with barbs of wry humour keeping the audience on their toes.

Act’s live vocals are a feat which must be heard to be believed, and The Girl From Oz leaves little doubt that she possesses charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent in abundance. The stand out of the night is inarguably her down-beat, desperate re-working of The Bee Gees’ Staying Alive, which sent eerie shivers through the room with its sheer intensity. The show’s costuming also never disappoints, Act treating the audience to a variety of sparkling catsuits and platform heels. All in all, The Girl from Oz is a show which has plenty for fans of Drag Race to enjoy, but is also the perfect introduction to drag for an audience unfamiliar with the art form. 

Reviews by Alice Markey

Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows

Courtney Act: The Girl from Oz

★★★★
Northern Stage at Summerhall

You've Changed

★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

Julio Torres: My Favourite Shapes

★★★★★
Scottish Storytelling Centre

The Illusion of Truth

★★★★
Summerhall

Palmyra

★★★★

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Performances

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The Blurb

Australian drag superstar Courtney Act (RuPaul's Drag Race, Australian Idol) takes you over the rainbow and down under in her new show. Chock full of hits and high notes, you will leave this show realising there's no place like home! 'Coy, funny, sexy, classy, and thoroughly upbeat... Courtney is something fresh and inspiring' (ManhattanDigest.com). 'Her beauty doesn't overshadow her talent – she can seriously hold a tune. With Broadway pipes and a mean falsetto' (Provincetown Banner).

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