The Spice Girls musical, Viva Forever! premièred in December last year and has been under some hammering ever since. The Telegraph described the show as “not just bad” but “definitively, monumentally and historically bad.” Miranda Sawyer for The Guardian stated “that there is very little to recommend this show.”
Well, I 100% disagree.
With all due respect, Miranda but I just don’t think you were born in the right generation to fully adore the Spice Girls and their music.
If, like me, you are true 90’s child, you most probably can blast out the rap to ‘Wannabe’, perform the dance routine to ‘Stop’ without even thinking and once tried to recreate the odd cone like hair pieces Scary Spice used to wear. If that’s the case, then go and see this musical, ASAP.
In a nut shell, the story revolves around a young singer called Viva, played by Hannah John-Kamen. She is a member of a girl band, who take part in an X Factor-esque TV programme. They have only just begun to dream about the sparkly lifestyles they will lead when their bitter mentor, Simone (the Sharon Osbourne if you will) announces she will only be taking one member through. She chooses Viva.
A naive Viva begins to realise how fake and intrusive fame can be when Simone forces her to reveal she is adopted to gain press attention. The story is brought alive by the imaginative adaptations of all of the Spice Girls hits including, ‘Too Much,’ ‘When 2 becomes 1,’ ‘Spice Up Your Life’ and of course ‘Viva Forever.’
The musical is written by the hilarious Jennifer Saunders and is peppered with cracking one liners. The relationship between Viva’s liberal mother Lauren and her best friend Suzi is certainly inspired by the Ab Fab girls. Probably because they’re pretty much drunk through out. Parodies of stereotypical talent show judges bring a lot of humour to the production and the overly keen assistant, Minty, played by Hatty Preston, is definitely one of the big stars.
Yes, the story is simple, yes there are no major twists and turns, but the true nature of this musical is to provide the fans of the band with another chance to appreciate their iconic music and remember how much they changed pop music. Fancy pants critics are hardly the type to stand up and ‘slam it to the left’ or in fact ‘shake it to the right’ and have probably never really wanted a ‘zigazig ha.’
Just like the message behind most of the band’s songs , the moral of the story is the importance of friendship and of course Girl Power! Whether you liked, loathed or absolutely loved them, The Spice Girls bring back those amazing memories of being young and careless. And that is exactly what Viva Forever does.