Major Tom at Battersea Arts Centre
Major Tom tells the true story of 34-year-old Victoria Melody’s gruelling quest for beauty and success. Told by the real life version of the woman herself, with the help of her exceptionally adorable Bassett Hound, Major Tom, the show follows the transformation of Victoria and her prized dog from your average uninteresting nobodies into a championship show dog and a beauty queen.
Melody is charming, cheerful and sunny and Major Tom can melt your heart with a stretch and a yawn, but their story is not one of any particular interest. There is no struggle, unless you count exercise, waxing and walking around a show pen as something to be immensely proud of. The actual transformation is minimal; photos and documentary footage following Melody’s journey from pre- to post-beauty queen reveal that the beautiful, jovial woman in front of you has always been just so, and if not then it can’t be relevant because it is not presented.
True, there is much to be said about the damaging effects of vanity upon the psyche. But it is not said in Major Tom. There is much to be said about perseverance in the face of failure. But again, you will not really find it dealt with here. What, then, is the show about? Had Melody learnt anything from it? No idea. There is a brief allusion to the desire to go back to “how they lived before”, but it does not feel very heartfelt. Look at her now! And the dog? Just very uninterested in it all. If even the star of the show sees its tedium then not much can really be expected from its uninvolved audience.
There’s just no depth. And the surface of it isn’t particularly funny, exotic or thrilling. It feels very much like going to a middle-class brunch and some relation or friend not particularly close to you prattling on about their shiny new pedigree dog in a naively emphatic fashion. The costumes are fun, and so are the stars, but you’re left feeling very confused about the aim of putting it on. Having studied fine art, Melody is now a performance artist, so the impression is that this is all just one big experiment for her, just to see what would happen. This is all fair enough, but it just doesn’t transmit as enjoyable for anybody else.
Photos: Liquid Photo
Major Tom is at Battersea Arts Centre until 15th March 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Major Tom here: