Creator &Performer:Victoria Melody
Reviewer: Glen Pearce
Venue: New Wolsey Studio, Ipswich
It’s not long ago that Ipswich’s New Wolsey Studio featured a certain Sweeney Todd’s Tonsorial Parlour. Victory Melody’s follow up to her hit show Major Tom, Hair Peace, follows a different barbers tale, but is no less serious.
In her previous work, Melody set out to explore the dog show world, but instead of her basset hound winning prizes, Melody herself ended up being crowned Mrs Brighton.
Now Melody begins to question where the hair extensions she wore for the beauty pageant circuit actually come from. It’s a lucrative business she explains, with top of the range extensions fetching upwards of £1,000.
She’s offered a choice of Indian, Russian and ‘pony’ extensions and sets out to find the source of this real human hair.
It’s a sobering tale. While Melody interweaves her slightly off the wall comedy, the story she discovers is much darker. In Russia, we meet the woman selling her dead mother’s hair for £5 and the woman paid £30 for her long hair that she has grown over 19 years – a far way off the £1,000 hairdressers will make from selling it.
In India, the tale is even more touching as we here the tale of the woman who has tried several times to make a pilgrimage to a temple to have her head shaved. It’s a lucrative source of income for the temple, and one that has turned into big business.
As we follow the woman’s journey it becomes more distressing to watch, but Melody never judges, allowing the story to resonate with the viewer.
As a follow-up to Major Tom, it feels slightly less accomplished. Melody has an endearing stage presence, and the story is certainly interesting and emotive. The comedy inserts though sit somewhat uncomfortably and the video segments, while compelling, distance the audience to mere viewers, rather than fully engaging.
There is a strong story here, and one that should be told. If there’s a way of hearing more from the voices involved it would pay dividends.
Reviewed on 4 June 2016 | Image: Contributed