MAJOR TOM to Play The Old Market at Brighton Fringe, May 12

MAJOR TOM to Play The Old Market at Brighton Fringe, May 12

After touring internationally and more recently throughout the UK, Brighton's own Victoria Melod returns to her home town with her trusty canine comanion and a story about British fascination with celebrity, beauty and winning. MAJOR TOM, written and performed by Brighton's own Victoria Melody, and her dog Major Tom, will run as part of Brighton Fringe on 12 May 2014. Based on real life experiences of the worlds of beauty pagents and professional dog shows. Nominated at the Total Theatre awards 2013 and Arches Brick Awards 2013.

Major Tom is the story of how an average 34 year old became a beauty queen and how her unruly pet basset hound, Major Tom, became a championship show dog.

Performer and artist Victoria Melody entered Mrs Galaxy UK (the "married" version of Miss UK) to explore her own prize-winning potential after becoming inspired by the struggles of her Bassett Hound (Major Tom), a star of the amateur dog show circuit, but widely criticised once in the professional realm. She spent the last year appearing as "Mrs Brighton", after winning her regional round, and has undertaken a wide range of public appearances as a beauty queen, documented through film and video in the show. An artistic experiment that took over Victoria's life as she delved further into an obsessive and confusing realm of personal scrutiny, Major Tom questions the seductive power of beautification, celebrity and competition.

When Major Tom graduated from the amateur to professional dog show circuit, he kept coming last: the judges would never take his personality into account, only interested in his looks, from his ears, to his colour, and even the size of his ribcage. While he wasn't perfect, (a bit smelly, perhaps, and with a voracious sexual appetite for Greyhounds) Victoria felt guilty that "Major Walking Prozac" was being subjected to such criticism. If Major was being scrutinised, Victoria believed she should be too, and so she started to enter beauty pageants.

Victoria documented her year through film and photography and the performance has a strong multi-media element. Victoria's eccentric, ethnographic approach to making performances finds Victoria immersing herself in other people's worlds, Victoria examines national characteristics, focusing on the extraordinary in the everyday.

Victoria says: "I create the material for my shows by becoming an active participant in other people's sub- cultures. Audiences re-live mine and my dog's experiences, as we become in this case a beauty queen and a champion show dog. I believe art is for everyone, the audience is at the heart of the work and that is why I have tried my hardest to create a piece of theatre that not only appeals to the most ardent art critic or political activist, but also to people who are just up for a laugh or to people who are intimidated and skeptical about art like my Nan."

Victoria Melody is a Brighton based artist with a background in fine art. She makes one-woman theatrical shows, performance interventions and films mainly about England's pastimes, passions and tribes. Fascinated by anthropology, she immerses herself into communities and becomes an active participant in their rituals as research for her work. Aside from her work as a beauty queen and championship dog handler, she has also been become a pigeon racer and northern soul dancer. She is currently tracing her human hair extensions back to the humans who grew them.

DETAILS:

Major Tom

Presented by Victoria Melody and Farnham Maltings.

Brighton Fringe

Date: Monday 12 May, 2014

Time: 7:30pm

Tickets, In Advance: £12.00 [£10.00.]

Tickets, On The Door: £13.00 [£11.00.]

Age: Recommended 14+.

Run Time: 65mins

For more information, visit www.theoldmarket.com, email will@theoldmarket.com or call 01273 201 800.

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