I've been going to the theatre from the age of five, Wannabe was the first CD single I bought and I own the entire Spice Girls back catalogue including the solo efforts.... even Victorias. So I think if I want to say that Viva Forever was not just disappointing as a fan of the girls, then I have that right. I also feel as a theatre fan that Viva Forever was one of the dullest experiences I've ever encountered on the stage. You hear of fabled flops like Always and Carrie The Musical which had every right to survive the wicked pens of the critics but Viva Forever... this deserved everything it got.
The musical was failed by a true lack of vision from its creators but the cast were exceptional, belting out some truly horrible renditions of the songs that inspired and entertained a generation of pop fans around the world. It's a shame as they deserved better. The idea behind Viva Forever was a solid one but poorly executed and as a result the critics hated it and unlike film where social media has a voice, the theatre critics of this world still have the power to make or break a musical and with adverts like the one on the right, not even the hardcore Spice fans could save this West End disaster.
Judy Craymer released a statement to the press a week or so ago and this is what she had to say about the closure of the show which
will close on June 29th. Usually I'd take every opportunity to see the Spice Girls in person but not even they could draw me back to this 2 hour hell!
Here's the statement from creator and producer Judy Craymer:
"It is with a heavy heart that we've had to make this very difficult decision to post closing notices for this original show which is blessed with one of the most brilliant casts currently on the West End stage. We set out to create a contemporary story that truly reflects our time; to take a satirical look at the underbelly of a TV talent show and the chaos that ensues for a mother, her daughter and their friends, a theatrical event to embrace all generations both on and off the stage. Testament to that achievement is the standing ovation at every performance from an audience of families and friends all enjoying a great night out.
The show has evolved since we first opened and is now brighter, lighter and funnier, but despite the wonderful audiences and extremely positive feedback we just can't make it work. I'm so proud of everyone involved in this production. Viva Forever may be taking its leave for now in the West End but the legacy of Spice Girls will never fade."
This had every incentive to be a success but sometimes it's just not meant to be! Good luck to the principal and ensemble cast along with the theatre staff in future endeavours. Jennifer Saunders although I love you, please stay away from Theatre unless you tour with your awesome 90's comedy partner Dawn French again!