Culture

Review: Major Tom, WMC

A one-woman, one-dog show has come like a whirlwind into Cardiff, and it’s a story of celebrity culture and the consequences of putting yourself in the public eye, all wrapped up with plenty of sparkling, simple humour

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Major Tom is an original one-woman show created and performed by Victoria Melody, detailing her and her bassett hound’s (the title character) adventures in beauty pageants and dog shows, respectively.

Before you write this off as a kooky comedy, know that it is a true story; Victoria Melody has the dresses and the videos to show for it. Using filmed footage – some of which was filmed on a GoPro on Major Tom’s back – Melody tells her story in the most personal, casual manner, in the way you’d tell someone about your life story after you escorted them through the door and sat them down in the living room. Major Tom is the sweetheart of the show, the one who melts everybody’s hearts.

But Melody’s story is what really keeps the show going; despite the wackiness of her logic, she doesn’t make fun of it as much as she reveals the absurdity of the situation the way children candidly point out falsities. She treats every situation with brutal honesty (not shying from hilariously graphic descriptions of dog breeding), crystal-clear logic, and in simplistic, unpretentious terms. The ridiculousness of her and Major Tom’s adventures lend a glittery, charming tint to their lives, so that when they both reach the end of their pageant adventures, there’s a quiet sadness – despite the loud tacky pageant catwalk music – that comes with their return to the mundane from the glamorous gawdiness of celebrity life.

Funny, original, and subtle without being obscuring, Major Tom isn’t the most theatrically sophisticated show in the world, going instead for a minimal but high-quality set. There’s so much frank honesty (like when Melody wipes Major Tom’s lips after he takes a drink to prevent drool showering over the audience), and so much warmth, it would’ve been very easy for Melody to have fallen into the trap of a one-dimensional comedy. She’s most skilfully told a story with a resounding ending that leaves you mulling over your own thoughts – without being depressed by them.

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