Ugly Chief

Friday, 16 March 2018
Two actors performing in a production with a row of musicians sitting behind them

Event Details

A Eulogy for a Living Soul


This spring, artist and performer Victoria Melody teams up with her dad, celebrity TV antique dealer Mike Melody, for her most ambitious show yet. Ugly Chief is a comedy based on true-life events, performed by a real-life father and daughter.

In 2013, Mike Melody was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Victoria was put in charge of planning the funeral her Dad would want – complete with eulogies, a congregation dressed in Blackpool FC’s tangerine colour and a New Orleans jazz procession. A year later the doctors realised they had misdiagnosed Mike. But they are going ahead with the funeral anyway…

Using Victoria’s training as a funeral director and a huge amount of research Ugly Chief looks at the British Funeral Industry and how we deal with death in modern society. It explores the taboos around death and its practicalities, and the fractious relationship with a parent whose opinions you don’t always agree with.

Musicians James Gow, Steve Pretty (Hackney Colliery Band), Kieran Rafferty and Gemma Storr provide the appropriate live accompaniment for the funeral – including Soul classics and more. They will be joined on stage for the show’s finale by a group of local brass musicians from Medway.

Mike will also be running his own version of the Antiques Roadshow during the show. The audience are invited to bring along their heirlooms, curiosities and collectables for him to value. No promises but if he likes it, he might even buy it!


“Messy, moving and funny. Exposes the fractures in families we often avoid addressing while we’re alive.”
— ★★★★ The Times

“A ridiculously enjoyable show… Of course we love it.”
— ★★★★ The Guardian

“Fascinating, beautiful and utterly human.”
— ★★★★ Time Out

“An off-piste comic treat.”
— ★★★★ What’s On Stage

“Extremely funny and wonderfully strange.”
— ★★★★ The Stage


Performers – Victoria Melody and Mike Melody

Musicians – Gemma Storr, Kieran Rafferty, Steve Pretty and James Gow

Written and Conceived – Victoria Melody

Writing Credits – Mike Melody and John Gordillo

Director – John Gordillo

Set and Costume Designer – Lucy Bradridge

Musical Director and Original Music – Tom Parkinson

Lighting Designer and Production Manager – Sean Phillips

Photographer – Hugo Glendinning

Producers – Fiona Baxter, Laura Woodward

Outreach Producer and Tour Booker – Janice Brittain

With thanks to: The Albany, Rebecca Hitchcox, Paul Hodson, Rosie Powell, Martha Oakes

By Victoria Melody. Produced by Farnham Maltings.

Originally commissioned and developed at New Wolsey Theatre, Farnham Maltings, Battersea Arts Centre and Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts. Supported by The Point Eastleigh, The Spire, The Marlborough, National Performance Network, and Unity Theatre Trust.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Originally seeded by house with The Old Market.

This show is billed as part of Paint The Town festival in conjunction with Battersea Arts Centre and The Collaborative Touring Network:

Time:7.30 - 9 PM
Location:The Brook Theatre, 5 The Brook, Chatham. ME4 4SE.
Suitable for:12+

Supported By

  • Medway Council - Serving You - Logo
  • Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust Logo