There are few things more irksome than witnessing a talent who has proved themselves to be remarkable in the past. Courtney Act who previously has discussed her time in Oz returns to the Fringe with new show Under The Covers seeking to build on her previous year’s success. It’s just a pity this ends up being a loose interpretation of the title.
Drawing the title from two sources – Under the Covers focuses on both a literal and metaphorical viewpoint. Reality-based revelations of Courtney/Shane’s relationships, life and issues surrounding her personal identification. Known for her vocals, Courtney also centres her show around music covers, promising to lift the lid and discuss their construction along with superb performances.
Vocally, this show is a five-star seller, her entire drag aesthetic is creative and alluring, yet also comical when required. Though she may want to find another set of heels before knocking out another audience member. Where Under the Covers dips is in its construction – a large issue. The music covers are mainly inspired choices with a touch of her own flair – others are questionable.
Really – the show feels flat. Forced jokes are stale, the musical numbers, whilst as previously mentioned are performed well, don’t impact in the way last years ‘Staying Alive’ felt. The rawest moment, in which the audience and Courtney discuss gender fluidity and the spectrum of identification is the most poignant ‘under the covers’ moment which, while welcomed, makes the rest of the show feel superficial.
When dealing with latecomers, front row graspers and heckles – Courtney Act is precisely the fierce, talented queen we cherish. This show though tarnishes that this Queen’s crown, as Courtney is usually at the pinnacle of her game. In order to work this production requires focus as it commits heresy against its own name; Under the Covers? We hardly rumple the sheets.