Viva Forever - The Spice Girls Musical
Viva Forever - The Spice Girls Musical
On Saturday 8th June 2013, I went to see the Spice Girls musical, Viva Forever. After announcing its closure at the end of June, my curiosity got the better of me...I had to see this show.
Written by Jennifer Saunders (one half of comedy duo French and Saunders, and creator of massively acclaimed TV sitcom, Absolutely Fabulous) and produced by Judy Craymer (who bought us Mamma Mia, the Abba musical), the team created a musical born from the musical catalogue of the Spice Girls.
Buuut - what's it like? Is it any good? What happens in it? There are heaps of questions I'm sure you're dying to know the answer to...and here on this page, I'm going to bring you my thoughts, and hopefully answer some of them for you!
Have you seen Viva Forever?
Have you seen Viva Forever? And if so, what did you think?
What's the Viva Forever story like?
When I go to the theatre, I like to be ensnared in a good story. Unfortunately, for me, the story just wasn't very strong.
Things we learn:
We meet Viva (I mean, really, you named the lead girl Viva...it's like the Spice Girls have a song with that word in the title, or something!!!) and the girls who are in a reality TV show.
We meet Viva's mum who lives on a boat and her random friend keeps popping up, and being annoying (a boat? really? it's like they were trying to channel the nautical theme of Mamma Mia, and hope some of the magic rubs off). We learn that Viva is adopted.
The 3 judges of the Starmaker - the reality music show, much like the X Factor - are very similar to the Sharon Osbournes and Simon Cowells of the formula. There is a weird storyline with their competitive nature - but nothing overally groundbreaking.
The structure of the TV show, Starmaker is really weird. One minute the girls are singing numbers in full costume, then we find out they're not through to the live shows, then they go to judges houses...it's all very confusing...I didn't have a clue what was going on in their "reality TV world".
Out of nowhere, the mentor for the Girl Group decides to only put through Viva as a solo artist.
What was the cast of Viva Forever like?
The girl who played Viva, was excellent. Without her, the show would have faltered.
The mother played by Sally Ann Triplet, played the role kinda like how Julie Walters played her role in the film Mamma Mia - kinda cheeky, bold and unapologetic. Sally Ann Triplet is a very accomplished actor, having seen her in previous roles, so I was surprised to see her seeming to take the easy way out, with her seemingly hamming up her performance for the sake of the lines, rather than deliver the truth and tenderness of the concern she has for her daughter entering the vicious and scary world of media manipulation.
The rest of the girls in the girl band "Eternity" were fine. One, Luce, who was like the Scary Spice of the foursome was annoying, and obnoxious...but when the other 2 came on at the end, I couldn't distinguish them for the rest of the cast...in other words forgettable!
Buy the Spice Girls Greatest Hits here!
If you love the Spice Girls, you can buy all their greatest hits, right here in this lovely little CD.
It seems that due to lack of success of the show, a soundtrack, score and book haven't been released...yet! So...get your fill of Spicyness right here, the good old fashioned, and original way!
The Viva Forever just outside St.Martin's Lane
Would you like to see a musical with music from the Spice Girls?
Do the Spice Girls songs work in a musical?
We learn that The Spice Girls don't have enough songs to go round, so the show also had to borrow "Look At Me" from Geri Halliwell's solo career. A shocker of a song at any rate - why oh why - didn't they borrow a couple from one of Emma Bunton's albums, at least they were good songs!
The show did shoehorn in a LOT of the songs. There was a moment when the girls just literally sing "Stop", as if they are performing on the TV show...so the lyrics didn't move the story along too?
One moment that really annoyed me, was when they went to judges houses, which was in Spain...everyone just burst into "Spice Up Your Life" and carried Viva around on their shoulders, whilst the boys paraded their oiled up torsos, topped off with bullhorns. Why oh why oh why, didn't they at least make some attempt to turn it into storymaking. For instance, one of the other contestants could have been telling Viva about how exciting Spain is, by taking her on a tour of a city...knowing the Viva is upset about not having any contact with the outside world...the show could have gone something like this:
Random contestant to Viva: "When you're feeling sad and low" (now Viva attempts a smile, whilst random fellow contestant pulls her by the hand into a street full of life "I will take you, where you wanna go" (they run around, taking in the sights...of topless men, and women with maracas)...then when it comes to the chorus then full of fiesta can begin on stage! ...although my suggestions aren't you know, tip top west end stuff, they're much better than what we saw!
For a full set list of musical numbers in the show, go here now