‘I had changed as a person since entering the beauty pageant. I was vain’, Victoria Melody announces dramatically, whilst staring intensely into the audience. That is, before reverting to her three-year-old self and whining loudly, ‘But I liked the worse me!’ This moment, in its juxtaposition of serious social commentary and bizarre comedy, sums up the show. Victoria Melody, taking on the persona of a sweet but fame-hungry bimbo, has bought a basset hound called Major Tom and entered him into competition after competition over the last few months. Failing to win any, due to Major’s physical shortcomings, Melody decided to enter herself into a competition of a very different nature: a beauty pageant. How different these two competitions really are is explored in a way that is amusingly strange.
Melody talks us through her trials and tribulations of preparing herself both mentally and physically for becoming - not Miss but - Mrs UK. It is both enlightening and disturbingly funny at the same time. There was a noticeably higher proportion of laughing male audience members than female, perhaps because the exposition of body image obsession seemed more novel to the men? Anyhow, this is a show that will split audiences: some people will find it hilarious, some profound, and some will simply feel lost.
‘I found I had to change my views and opinions before entering the pageant. I had been a feminist’, Melody half-jokes, half-confesses. Indeed it is a common feeling among today’s generation that beauty pageants are ridiculous and sexist. One could interpret Melody’s material as obvious in light of this statement. However, there is something about her comic style and striking honesty that makes this show quite special. It makes for a bemusing viewing experience at times, as one is never quite sure how much of Victoria Melody is fact and how much is fiction. Similar confusion surrounds what kind of reaction is being expected at different points. This open-endedness is both interesting and frustrating simultaneously.
One certainty however is that this show is a must for dog-lovers. Melody’s partner-in-comedy-cum-pet-dog is remarkably sleepy and remarkably cute, and many pet owners will no doubt relate to Melody’s unflinching desire to make Major the best and the happiest dog he can be. A healthy amount of the comedy was derived from Major’s reluctance to cooperate, or his coo-inducing reactions to Melody’s approaches. A great portion of the material too revolved around fun anecdotes about Major’s odd tendencies and behaviours, his unwillingness to breed, and the fact that strangers always comment on the size of his testicles.
As a quirky exploration of vanity and celebrity that will give you and your friends something to laugh about and talk over after the show, I’d recommend giving Major Tom a go.