Wilma’s Rating [rating=3]
As soon as the overture began, the audience went wild for the familiar sound of the Spice Girls songs.
The story of Viva Forever is current and simple. Four girls on a TV talent show ‘Star Factor’ which makes no attempt to hide the fact it is based on UK TV show X Factor. When the judges decide that they only want to take one girl ‘Viva’ through to the live shows, the girls have to make the decision to let her go it alone. The camera crews and stage staff cleverly break out into well choreographed dance routines which make you smile.
Viva leaves her family and friends behind and is encouraged by the TV show not to speak to them in order to focus on her singing. Her alcoholic mother and friend try to go to see her at the live shows but get thrown out for being drunk. It is a story of love, friendship and the decisions that we all have to make in life.
Jennifer Saunders humour is current and funny, with mentions of hash tags (something done on social media site twitter), MILF’s and P-Jazzles. Some of the jokes were subtle and I think this is a show that you would enjoy over and over again because you would hear jokes that you may not have before. There were so many funny lines in this show that I gave up trying to write them all down!
Too Much was sung to a Zumba Class dance routine and 2 Become 1 was an intimate bedroom scene. Stop featured a similar dance routine to the original Spice Girls number which got the audience seeing if they could remember the moves in their seats! Every song that was sung was echoed by the audience, singing along to the Spice Girls hit songs. The newly arranged versions of the songs didn’t stop the crowd from over powering them with their own renditions of the original songs.
The worst part about Viva Forever was the audience. Drunk thirty somethings who talked constantly and laughed constantly (not at the jokes). When two men in front of me stood up near the end and started dancing, the man next to me asked them to sit down and they simply said ‘no’ and carried on. It’s fine to stand up during the bows but this was well before the end and showed the real lack of respect the audience had. Some friend of mine went to see the show a few days after me and they said 5 people were thrown out for being too drunk and noisy which sadly goes to show that the audience I was with were not a one-off.
Viva Forever isn’t an amazing piece of theatre like Les Miserables or Wicked but it isn’t trying to be. Sadly, in today’s world, everyone is a critic and are very quick to dismiss something without really looking at it properly. Luckily, the show is selling very well with limited ticket availability until mid February 2013 and so I hope by then people will accept it for what it is and not run it out-of-town.
Would I see this show again? Absolutely! Viva Forever does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s good fun. Like Mamma Mia, it’s cringe-worthy at times and if you don’t like the Spice Girls music then you will probably not enjoy it. If you want a fun night out and a trip down memory lane then you won’t be disappointed.
Bring on the cast album!
Siobhan Athwal – Luce
Lucy Phelps – Diamond
Dominique Provost-Chalkey – Holly
Lucy Montgomery – Suzi
Simon Slater – Mitch
Bill Ward – Judge
Sally Dexter – Judge
Tamara Wall – Judge
Ben Cura – Angel
Hatty Preston – Minty
Simon Adkins – Leon
Anthony Topham – Lance
Roxanne Palmer, Charlotte Walcott, Sophie Carmen-Jones, Tom Kanavan, Zak Nemorin, Curtis Angus, Luke Jackson, Oliver Roll, David Rudin, Darren Carnall, Myles Brown, Charlotte Gorton, Rebecca McKinnis, Lucy Thatcher, Carla Nella, Kirstie Skivington and Helen Ternent.
Photograph: Tristram Kenton
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