Pros: You’ll laugh so hard your sides will hurt.
Cons: Your sides will hurt.
Victoria Melody has trained as a police officer, a championship dog handler and a pigeon racer (who knew that was a thing?) for her performances. Her latest showing, Ugly Chief, came from a time when her Dad, Mike Melody, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and given less than five years to live. Those of you with a love for daytime TV (should you care to admit it) might recognise Mike from Dickinson’s Real Deal or Secret Dealers. Victoria’s natural reaction to this news was to immerse herself in another unusual culture, by training as a funeral director!
This hilarious father-daughter pair have built a show that they claim has many themes: mortality, cultures and family conflict being a few. What I saw was two hours framed around one topic: love. Don’t get me wrong, the soppy moments aren’t very frequent, and are quickly brought back to earth with their wicked humour. Nonetheless, I saw a touching relationship between a regretful father and a hurt daughter seemingly mend before my very eyes.
The on-stage chemistry between them is as natural as you’d imagine between family members. They joke, have little digs and argue with each other only for them to tell you that it was all a re-enactment of a few moments from their rehearsals. The whole thing is so natural and so familiar to everyone there.
The problem with comedy is that explaining why it is so funny can sometimes ruin it. I don’t want to ruin a single second of this amazing show for you, so I just want to say one thing: it is completely and utterly hilarious. I can’t tell you enough how much I’d recommend seeing it. Just prepare yourself, your sides will hurt. They told us stories as if we were sat with them in a café catching up, and I’d love to extend the invitation to my house for a cup of tea to tell me more.
Until 18th November 2017 Ugly Chief is being hosted in the perfect setting of the council chambers at Battersea Arts Centre. If you haven’t been to this venue before, then please do go. A beautiful town hall has been transformed into a creative and vibrant place, despite still recovering from a fire two years ago. The bar was buzzing, and the food smelt amazing – you don’t have to watch a show to drop in.