Plenty of drag queens will delight their fans with a stage show this holiday season. But only the Courtney Act holiday show is a deep, dark dive into the human psyche mixed with high heels and higher hair. The RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 alumna from Down Under is bringing this brand-new show, dubbed Lump of Coal, to six North American cities before year’s end, and it’s all but guaranteed to leave you laughing, singing along and — during a few parts, no doubt — shedding a tear for what’s become of the world.
It’s a “nuclear winter” this year, Courtney Act says in her show promos — your first hint this is a holiday show with bite.
“Santa has put Courtney Act in charge of the naughty or nice list, and she will be personally delivering your Lump of coal!” she promises. “That’s right, kiddies, thanks to global warming it’ll be an Alt-Right White Christmas. The elves have stopped building toys until they know if they’re being deported, and Kim Jong Un’s cover of ‘Rocket Man’ is all anyone can talk about.”
Courtney Act has already brought the show to California (one night in Los Angeles, two in San Diego), and next up are New Orleans, Minneapolis, Toronto, Montréal, New York City and San Francisco. During a recent convo, Act tells us that after three shows, Lump of Coal has really come together, promising a big treat for fans.
“Opening night and the first night in San Diego were really stressful, but it really all came together on the third night in San Diego, and I had such a fun time doing the show,” Courtney Act says. “It’s different than a regular Courtney holiday show, because it’s got a little dark element to it. It’s a little more representative of the times that we’re living in. It’s like a group therapy session.”
Mixing cabaret and the witty banter we’ve come to expect from Courtney Act, at the very least you can expect to hear all your favorite holiday tunes, plus a few non-denominational pop faves. If it’s a “gay Yuletide” you’re after, consider it found.
“Most people have probably seen me perform in a club environment,” Courtney Act says, “but cabaret is very different. It’s one hour of me, a pianist, a gorgeous costume, some fun and fabulous songs, lots of stories and laughs.”
The holidays are a stressful, rotten time for some, and nearly all of us can point to some particularly horrendous moments from years past. And with this year’s Courtney Act holiday show named Lump of Coal, we couldn’t help but ask about any upsetting Christmas memories from our favorite Aussie queen’s past. One particular story sprang to Act’s mind.
“I do remember hiding behind the couch and crying sometime in the ’80s when I didn’t receive a She-Ra doll for Christmas,” Act says. “I got all of the hyper-masculine villains from He-Man and She-Ra, but what I really wanted was She-Ra, and I remember thinking that it was the worst Christmas ever.”
A silver lining, though: “I later on came to objectify the hard plastic bodies of those He-Man figurines,” Courtney Act says. “So it wasn’t all bad.”
We were also curious about who finds themselves on Courtney Act’s naughty-or-nice list in 2017. One particular orange, wispy-haired man was a given, of course.
“I don’t think I really need to answer who’s on the naughty list, but as well as him,” Act tells us, “all of the people who try to oppress, marginalize, objectify and reduce other human beings and animals.”
And Courtney Act’s “nice list”?
“I’d have to say Colin Kaepernick, Munroe Bergdorf, Maxine Waters and all of the silence-breakers who came forward about sexual misconduct that had been committed against them,” Courtney Act says. “And Trixie and Katya, because I fucking love that show on YouTube and Viceland.”