Viva Forever! received a lot of press attention since it was launched in June 2012, mainly because of The Spice Girls involvement in the musical and promotion of it. Firstly I have to admit, that the main reason I wanted to see this musical is because I loved The Spice Girls, so anything which is remotely to do with them and I'm sold.
When I first heard of this musical I thought that the story was about The Spice Girls and their rise to fame. So I was quite surprised when I found out that it was a different story entirely, but just based on the songs of The Spice Girls.
The criticism of this musical didn't give it the best start, which made me a bit dubious. But then I love The Spice Girls songs so much that I was still very excited to see the musical.
I was pleasantly surprised by Viva Forever!, the storyline is refreshingly modern, The Spice Girls songs blended in perfectly to the storyline and there was plenty of humour.
On entering into The Piccadilly Theatre, you would be mistaken for thinking you had walked into your nearest Topshop. The audience were distinctly female. One glance at the row I was sitting in revealed not a man in sight.
Viva Forever! kept an audience of mostly women entertained with its feel good songs and story about friendship and growing up. There were some noticeable parallels to The Spice Girls. This included girls with their own distinctive personalities, trying to carve a name for themselves in an over competitive industry and the breaking up of a band.
Something which I particularly liked about Viva Forever! is how modern the storyline is. It's a musical which relates to the era of reality shows and singing competitions. The girl band enters into a singing competition called 'Starmaker', which has shades of X Factor about it. From the rich, ego driven judges to the judge's houses. In one part, one of the judges, Simone was even pleading with her assistant to find Viva's sob story to unveil to viewers. The fabrication of a sob story for the TV talent contest is indicative of how the musical could be a parody of talent shows such as X Factor.
The Spice Girls songs seem to be made for Viva Forever! All the song's lyrics perfectly suit the storyline. 'Mama' summed up Viva's emotional goodbye to her Mother as she left home in pursuit of her singing career and 'Who Do You Think You Are?' reflected the need for Viva to prove herself at a crucial part of the singing competition.
Although this musical has been attacked by the critics, Jennifer Saunders recently cleverly stated - "So the critics - five middle-aged men - didn't like it". She has a point, The Spice Girls were never a band for middle aged men or indeed men at all. So it's not surprising that they didn't take to a musical centred on girl power.
Ultimately this is a feel good musical with a very modern resonance and if you are a fan of The Spice Girls songs then this is a must see!