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Edinburgh 2018: BWW Review: COURTNEY ACT: UNDER THE COVERS, Underbelly

Edinburgh 2018: BWW Review: COURTNEY ACT: UNDER THE COVERS, Underbelly

CourtneyEdinburgh 2018: BWW Review: COURTNEY ACT: UNDER THE COVERS, Underbelly Act will be best known to UK audiences from her winning stint earlier this year in Celebrity Big Brother.

More dedicated fans will know Courtney as Season 6 runner-up of RuPaul's Drag Race. She is in fine form as she takes us Under the Covers of some of her favourite songs, accompanied by funny and sometimes touching stories about her life.

We are treated to some of Courtney's favourite covers of covers. She delights in telling the audience that "It's Oh So Quiet", famously covered by Bjork, was released in 1951 by Betty Hutton. This version was a cover of the German song, "Und jetzt ist es still". There was also an excellent arrangement of "Like a Virgin", taking us through everything from Burlesque to Disney.

The musical highlight for me though was a beautiful and incredibly touching duet between Shane (boy Courtney, on a pre-recorded video) and Courtney, a mash-up of "If I were a Boy" and "Girls Just Want To Have Fun". This came out of a section where Courtney talked really openly about her own struggles with gender identity and how identifying as gender fluid has made her much more comfortable in her own skin.

This is where Courtney truly stands out. There is a warmth and honesty that allows you to fall in love with the persona on stage. In our current world of conflict and rising fear, it is inspiring listening to someone that wants the world to be more understanding, more tolerant and more fabulous.

Of course, it almost goes without saying, but Courtney is as stunning as you would expect. There are a couple of instant quick changes that are very impressive. However, there are two offstage costume changes that take too long, relying on pre-recorded video elements to fill the time. As entertaining as the cooking segment one is, I would rather see more of Courtney Act in the flesh.

We are also treated to a voice-recorded cameo from Bianca Del Rio (RuPaul's Drag Race Season 6 winner) as a hateful SIRI, and Miss Vanjie (Drag Race alum and a 2018 Meme cultural phenomenon) gets a shoutout and features in reworked lyrics for "Valery".

Plus the evening wouldn't be complete without reference to Courtney's time in the Celebrity Big Brother house and her experience of living with Ann Widdecombe and her bromance with Andrew Brady.

Courtney is in dazzling form. She is a talented singer, a comedienne and an engaging personality that you will struggle not to fall in love with. With a Channel 4 Entertainment/Chat show in production, the UK is going to be getting a whole lot more Courtney - and I for one can't wait.

Courtney Act: Under the Covers is on at Underbelly's Circus Hub on the Meadows until 18 August (not 7 and 8)

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From This Author Matt Elliot

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