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The Spice Girls musical, Viva Forever!, has absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever.In a more cerebral age, it used to take something like Laurence Olivier walking out on to the stage of the Royal Court at the first night of The Entertainer to constitute a major theatrical event. These days, it’s not Archie Rice but a musical about the Spice Girls that gets the punters into a state of near-frenzy.
When one is up against the tsunami of hype that the publicists of Viva Forever! have managed to whip up, it is awfully tempting to try to be a really hip old daddy-o, go with the flow, and, after lighting up a Hamlet cigar and taking out the earplugs, dispensing the five stars that the exclamation mark would appear to require.
One cannot, however, ignore the old tosh-o-meter, when the needle goes off the scale to register a show that’s so bad, it ought, if there were any justice, to be accorded a minus-star rating. This show is not just bad, it is definitively, monumentally and historically bad.
I shall not dwell on the plot because, goodness knows, Jennifer Saunders, its writer, certainly hasn’t done. Its producer, Judy Craymer, may profess to have spent some money on it, but I have no idea where it has gone.
It does not manifest itself in the set design – which is basic to the extent of being like Play School‘s – and, as for the songs, they are uniformly scummy, scratchy and screechy. There is no acting to speak of, either, so I shall not identify any of the girls who appear in it, lest they be subjected to recriminations.
Thrown together without any great thought, and ugly in every respect, the show is a fitting symbol of the me-me-me generation, whose members take the Spice Girls as their role models because they demonstrate that fame and fortune can these days be quickly, easily and pointlessly obtained by just about anybody.
Viva Forever! marks the West End coming to an unequivocal dead end.
To June 1; www.vivaforeverthemusical.com