As I sit down to write this I wonder how much of my word count I can waste talking about Ru Paul’s Drag Race. The answer is probably a lot but in truth I’d rather focus on the wonderful show I’ve just seen. Things get off to a good start, opening with a rendition of Olivia Newton-John & ELO’s Xanadu while Courtney tumbles around the stage on a pair of red sequined rollerskates that I am more than a little jealous of.
It’s clear the majority of the audience are made up of Drag Race fans who whoop and cheer at every mention of Ru or fellow Drag Race contestants. The essence of the show is just a delightful excuse for Act to sing her favourite songs written by Australian artists. On Drag Race she was accused of “resting on pretty” but, sitting in the very back row, I don’t have eyesight to concur but her outfits are fabulous. What I can confirm is that the woman can sing better than most of the artists she’s covering.
In case this all sounds particularly light, there is a moment where Act takes a moment to comment on the awful things going on in the world before singing a reworked version of The Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive. The lyrics punch harder in the context of her slow piano rendition that echoes Lana Del Rey, sounding especially resonant given current events. It’s a truly show-stopping performance and, for me, the best moment of the entire show. You can check it out on YouTube.
In between acts and costume changes a screen plays videos highlighting the many famous songs written by Australians while providing something of a guide to Aussie “language”. While amusing, it’s clear this is from a US version of the show and has not been tailored for the UK or specifically, Scotland. This is no more apparent than a section which explains that a certain four letter word that begins with C is used in lots of different ways in Australia that I’m sure would have plenty shock value in other countries but let’s face it, in Scotland we probably use that word more often.
But that’s a minor quibble. Digs at fellow contestants and a broad selection of songs from artists such as Natalie Imbruglia, Air Supply and even AC/DC ensure everyone has a good time. And what better way to close the show than with a fantastically kitsch medley of Kylie Minogue hits bathed under a rainbow light show.
Perfection, I think you’d call that.
Courtney Act’s The Girl From Oz runs until 26th August at Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows, 18:00.