Pros: Victoria Melody’s co-performer is a basset hound who is both adorable and funny.
Cons: Very few. They say don’t work with children or animals, and the fact Major Tom decided to take a snooze not on his designated bed messed up the lights, but really just made it funnier.
If a basset hound called Major Tom greeting you at the entrance to a venue and a David Bowie song by the same name playing softly in the background don’t put a smile on your face, I’m not sure what will. Named after the dog in question, Major Tom the show presents a chance for Victoria Melody, Tom’s owner, to voice her own perspective on the world of competition, both dog and beauty related.
Melody is a ‘go get them’ type of artist. She submerges herself into the niche communities of Great Britain, such as pigeon racing and northern soul dancing, as she is fascinated by British pastimes. This time round she attempted the competitive world of dog handling AND entered herself into a beauty pageant at the same time. These two apparently disparate areas are demonstrated at once by a video of Melody glammed up as Mrs Brighton with Major Tom on a lead trudging beside her. But upon closer inspection there is a comparison to be drawn between them. Both concentrate on image and the judges’ idea of their ‘perfect woman/dog’, and both have the ability to spark Melody’s competitive streak as well as vulnerability to both her and her dog’s flaws.
In fact Melody takes an insult of Major Tom more to heart than any comment about herself. This is in evidence when she makes light of the pageant organiser’s comments about her weight or the plastic surgeon’s suggestion on how to ‘make her better’, but when told by dog show judges that she should ‘save up and buy another dog’ she is clearly much more disappointed.
The show itself is a monologue directed straight at the audience, supported by homemade video montages of dog shows and pageant activities, a plethora of costume changes, and a simple yet homely set. The short movies add humour to the piece, which is also thanks to Melody’s lively comments. They visually remind the audience of how challenging these competitions can be and, to be perfectly frank, how ghastly. The comparison between the two competitions is made again by placing footage of Melody in the gym next to Major Tom running towards camera, his extraordinarily large ears flapping in the wind, to hilarious effect.
The piece is funny and Melody’s ability to make you laugh at her awkward story is what makes this show and her performance special. That and the fact there’s a real life dog on stage, who’s not sleeping where he should be sleeping, so the spotlight is in the wrong place…whoops! Occurrences like this don’t flaw the show, but are in keeping with its light attitude.
This is an endearing piece about two quirky characters who love each other very much, regardless of what the outside world thinks about them. As suggested by the title, Major Tom is obviously the star of the show, despite sleeping for the majority of it. And Victoria Melody clearly dotes on this stubborn but well behaved canine. I would recommend to end your night having a cuddle with Major Tom for some extra doggy love!
Created and performed by: Victoria Melody
Dramaturg: Paul Hodson
Produced by: Farnham Maltings
Box Office: 02072332223
Booking Link: www.bac.org.uk/content/30901/see_whats_on/current_shows/cook_up/major_tom
Booking Until: 15th March 2014