Theatre Review: Viva Forever

When I heard that the Spice Girls were having a musical produced based around their backlog of songs, i was so excited. Their launch event at the King’s Cross hotel where they shot their ‘Wannabe’ video made me want to dip back into the world of nostalgia and to sing my heart out to the great Spice Girls hits. I wanted to be a part of reliving the best moments of the Spice Girls era and take on the inspiration of ‘Girl Power’ just as i had as the wide eyed girl aged 10.

‘Viva Forever’ is no way related to the story of the ‘Spice Girls’. For starters there are four girls in this story instead of five and it based around them reaching the finals of their version of X-Factor called Starmaker. The judges are very much based around the X-Factor show and an ageing singer, Simone stages a coup at the semi-finals and says that only one of the girls can get through, Viva. Viva now struggles with the fact she is adopted and her broken friendships as she tries to hit the big time under the guidance of Simone and her team.

 
 
Though i am a hardcore fan of the Spice Girls, i only wish the shows creators had taken more inspiration from the real life story of the girls rather than inventing this story that frankly has no key messages. Girl Power is just limited to one lacklustre line and the strongest woman in the show who play’s Viva’s mother is the only one who really stands out in her defiance of society’s conventions. The soundtrack has been really well performed and one particular mash up of ‘Mama’ and ‘Goodbye’ is fantastic where actresses show off their remarkable singing skills. The actors do the best with what they have and have some real talent in the young girls recruited for the show.
 
I think audience participation was key for a show like this that celebrated the Spice Girls legacy. Apart from the sing-a-long at the end, the audience are left rather confused whether they can join in and frankly, i think this should have been encouraged with some of the big numbers like ‘Stop’ and ‘Spice Up Your Life’. 

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