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New Spice Girls Musical Flops

So there is now a Spice Girls Musical, ‘Viva Forever’. But by the looks of the critical panning it received on opening night, it may be more a case of ‘Viva until the middle of next week if you’re lucky’

One can understand the enthusiasm of producer Judy Craymer, who earned upwards of 100 million from the hit sensation Mamma Mia to try and repeat her success, but there have proved to be a couple of stumbling blocks. One seems to be that the show is pretty insipid. And the other is that the Spice Girls quite simply – aren’t Abba. They were a contrived moment in time that many one time fans cringe slightly at the thought of and have little of the enduring kitsch appeal or timelessly catchy songs that sustaining a musical needs.

Writer Jennifer Saunders tells the tale of a fictional band who are working their way through a TV talent show. In the final round, band member Viva gets through without her fellow band mates and instantly becomes a celebrity. There is then a lot of soul searching about the impact of fame on one’s life, identity and friends. The portrait of a cynical, exploitative X Factor world is particularly ironic as the Spice Girls were pioneers of cynical manufacturing – by Simon Fuller though rather than the pastiche Simon Cowell figure on stage.

As the Telegraph put it "I'll tell you what I wanted, what I really, really wanted – I wanted this terrible show to stop”

And The Guardian mused on the central moral question “At least one member of the audience felt less torn than he suspected he was supposed to be by the main protagonist's dilemma over whether to abandon her bandmates at the behest of a TV talent show mentor, on the grounds that her bandmates seemed only marginally less insufferable than the mentor”

Does the Spice Girls bubble gum version of feminism have what it takes to pull in the punters? Do the songs stand up years later? And does anyone even care any more?

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