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Bonkers docu-theatre maker Victoria Melody investigates the human hair industry
The story behind Victoria Melody’s last show, ‘Major Tom’, was so priceless weird that it would have been irresponsible not to share it with the wider world. Stung by accusations of extreme slothfulness directed at her pet bloodhound Major, she enrolled him into the surprisingly politics-heavy world of competitive dog shows, but then felt guilty about it and decided that to be fair she would have to start entering herself beauty pageants, which she duly did, becoming alarmingly competitive into the bargain.
The trouble with ‘Hair Peace’, her latest hour of oddball documentary theatre, is that it doesn’t really have much of a story. It could have done: Melody again set herself a task, to find out where the human hair extensions she’d acquired during her pageantry career had come from, and set about investigating the Indian and Russian hair industries in her trademark faux-savant style.
But despite getting some good material in India – she befriended a woman taking a pilgrimage to have her hair shaved off at a temple, the source of most commercially available Indian hair – she didn’t really unearth anything particularly momentous about the industry as a whole. Arguably ‘Major Tom’ didn’t unearth much about the dog shows or beauty pageants, but there the pre-recorded documentary portions put the goggle-eyed, perma-grinning, hypnotically odd Melody front and centre; here she rather fades into the background in the sequences filmed in Russia and India, which is a shame, as her most interesting subject is clearly herself.
Still, she is the one presenting the show, and is an entirely winsome host – matey, bubbly, but completely deadpan about the fact she’s doing all this weird stuff. And she works hard too, peppering the show with loopy skits and one stupendously vigorous dance routine. At some point she probably needs to work out whether she wants to be the next Louis Theroux or a sort of avant-garde stand up comic. But she’s got enough charm to put off that decision for a few shows, at least.