Major Tom

Victoria Melody

Summerhall

From 02 August 2013 to 25 August 2013

Rating: ****

Review by Seth Ewin

Like The Wizard of Oz, this is the tale of one woman and her dog who travel to some strange places—rainbows feature too. Unlike The Wizard of Oz though this is a true story. Victoria Melody and Major Tom are also even more lovable than Dorothy and Toto. Major Tom incidentally is the name of Victoria's Bassett Hound, the show has no appearances from Bowie.

Major Tom is probably one of the most adorable dogs ever, spreading happiness everywhere he goes, "walking Prozac" as he has been nick-named by Victoria's friends. So Victoria decided to enter him in some competitions, in the knowledge that at the very least it would make a good story.

Major Tom's story is superb and Victoria is a great storyteller, playing up her naïve optimism, beneath which lies a very shrewd entertainer. Not content with one good story, the show combines two, as Victoria explains that Major Tom is not the only one to be analysed in terms of appearance, attitude and walk.

After Major Tom had entered the surreal, subjective and snooty world of dog shows, Victoria felt it was only right she should enter the human equivalent: the beauty pageant. With relative ease she became Mrs Brighton and got to take part in the Mrs England 2013 pageant, sponsored by Galaxy.

The two make a fantastic double act, both on stage and in the well-timed videos which allow Victoria to show off her beauty pageant outfits and Crufts tweeds, their best little appearance being the pair at Brighton Gay Pride having a great time.

Just in case anyone is worried about animal cruelty, Major Tom is perfectly content on stage and actually sleeps for much of the show. The real cruelty revealed by the show is the snobbery towards dog trainers, and then there's teh beauty pageants.

The thorny issues are addressed, but what is so refreshing is Victoria's light-hearted but sharp delivery and her smile, which did win an award. Although if you want to know if either of them received top prize, you'll have to see the show.