Major Tom (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

Major Tom

Two underdogs enter competition, a funny look at people's competitive nature and the judgemental society we live in

Performer Victoria Melody got the idea of entering her basset hound Major Tom into competitions but quickly became disheartened by how low he scored with judges. Another brain wave hits: she too will enter competitions, but as a beauty queen. The play chronicles their rise on their respective circuits as they go through the required training and regimes.

On the surface the play is a very funny look at people’s competitive nature and quest for attention. But look deeper and Melody’s play charts darker territory: Melody and the Major are judged on similar, sometimes even exact, criteria. This juxtaposition makes a rather frightening statement about how judgemental we as a society can be: looks and class count more than inner beauty and personality.

This could have been treated with anger and sarcasm, but Melody presents a much warmer portrait than that, resulting in a production that combines humour and intelligence with two protagonists easy to root for. The result is not just a winning production but easily one of the best shows currently running on the Fringe.

Summerhall, 0845 874 3001, until Aug 25, 4.45pm, £12 (£10).

Major Tom

  • 4 stars

Victoria Melody/Farnham Maltings/Harlow Playhouse/Escalator East to Edinburgh How an unlikely pair of underdogs became a beauty queen and championship show dog. Artist Victoria Melody is the reigning Mrs Brighton and an unlikely beauty queen. Her unruly basset hound, Major Tom, has become a championship show dog. When…