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Review Hairpeace Battersea Arts Centre By Hannah Goslin


 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Beginning this one woman show, Victoria Melody begins with an  introduction to who she is, her previous show ‘Major Tom’ and where this brought her to the current production. She is a little bit odd, very talkative and full of expression. But it does put me on the edge of what was I really about to see.

This big haired, ditsy blonde seems amateur, strange and unlike anything I have ever seen. But soon, I was going to be surprised and about to eat my words.

Hairpeace begins from the performer’s quest to research a new show by entering beauty pageants. The cosmetic, pristine and long haired beauties we see on stage are all from this niche genre do a lot to make them this certain way. One part of this is the use of hair extensions, which are from real human hair. But where do they come from and does anyone even care? Melody investigates this, going from science, to Russia and to India where these extensions of beauty originate, and the deep dark and emotional secrets unfold.

As previous stated, I believed I was going to witness something amateur and something I was going to walk away from really disliking. I didn’t expect to be engaged, to laugh and to feel sorrow. Melody is so clever – her ‘amateur’ approach, her play on her airhead beauty pageant status is interesting and leaves us laughing. She is not only her intelligent and interesting self, but she plays on her stereotypes and easily wins around those (like myself) whose initial judgement was so, so wrong.

She uses her props, her staging well and plays with it all to bring out a laugh in us – one moment when a solid 3 minutes of her awful disco dancing with a frozen smile and her eyes lighting up in enjoyment is solely there to entertain – she is admirable for not caring what people think and doing things for us to love.

These hilarious and warming moments are comic relief however – the truth behind where hair comes from, her experiences and stories of people she goes to meet in Russia and India are heartbreaking but you are given real people through her filming, real emotion and she’s not afraid to show the real her whether it be taking the mick out of herself or telling the true revelations from her research.

Hairpeace turns into more performance art that a production; the content is real life, it is truth and honesty in all realms. However, instead of forcing us into a documentary, or storytelling, she highlights issues bluntly, bringing in elements of comedy to give that silver cloud. A definite informative and funny must see.

Never was the phrase ‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’ ever as apt as it is for this production; from my initial reactions to the reality of hair extensions.

Writer/ Performer: Victoria Melody
Director: Paul Hodson; Petra Massey
Dramaturg: Rachel Chavkin
Producer: Sean Phillips
Design: Ryan Laight; Joe Murray, Mitch Mitchinson, Evgeniy Kurbatov (Cameras); Richard Davenport, Hugo Glendinning (Photography)
Until 25 June 2016