August 04, 2015 | Updated at 03:33 PM EDT The Latest Entertainment & Celebrity News

Critics Pan 'Charmless' Spice Girls Musical

They came, they saw, but sadly Britain's music critics largely failed to enjoy Tuesday night's revival of girl power at the world premiere of the Spice Girls' musical "Viva Forever!"

By Paul Casciato, Reuters on Dec 13, 2012 10:10 AM EST
facebook tweet this pin it plus
Sign Up for Newsletter
  • Spice Girl members Melanie Brown (R-L), Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Melanie Chisholm arrive for the premiere of the musical "Viva Forever!", based on the music of the Spice Girls, in central Londo
  • Spice Girl members Melanie Brown (R-L), Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Melanie Chisholm arrive for the premiere of the musical "Viva Forever!", based on the music of the Spice Girls, in central London December 11, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) - They came, they saw, but sadly Britain's music critics largely failed to enjoy Tuesday night's revival of girl power at the world premiere of the Spice Girls' musical "Viva Forever!"

Reviewers panned a production loosely based on the band's meteoric rise to fame in the 1990s, complaining that its "charmless" script failed even as a basic invention for folding nostalgic pop hits into a West End stage show.


Independent newspaper critic Paul Taylor said the show "only achieves the kind of deliriously silly and joyous lift-off" at its encore and blamed scriptwriter Jennifer Saunders.

"Not only does her script rarely give you that necessary gleeful sense of expectancy about where the songs are going to be shoe-horned in, but it's embarrassingly derivative of 'Mamma Mia!' and looks way past its sell-by date in its utterly surprise-free satiric swipe at X Factor."

"Viva Forever!" was the brainchild of producer Judy Craymer, whose Mamma Mia! musical based on the hits of ABBA has earned nearly $2 billion worldwide and spawned a hit movie starring Meryl Streep.

She teamed up with British comedian Saunders of "Absolutely Fabulous" fame to create a story about the central character, Viva, a sprightly teenager who, along with her friends, gets into the final stages of a TV singing contest closely resembling Britain's "The X Factor".

To boost flagging audience figures - a nod to "The X Factor"s real-life ratings woes in Britain this season - their mentor springs a surprise and throws out three members of the band to leave Viva on her own.

What follows is part morality tale examining what is more important - friends, family or fame - and part satire on reality television, including a callous producer bearing an uncanny resemblance to X-Factor's Simon Cowell.

EMPOWERMENT

Both the Mirror and the Daily Mail delivered damning criticism of a production, which the Mirror's Alun Palmer said particularly failed to deliver on the grand message that formed a key part of every Spice Girl's identity: "girl power".

"There is more female empowerment at a Taliban finishing school than in this show," Palmer wrote.

The Spice Girls, Geri Halliwell, Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton and Melanie Chisholm, who together stormed the charts in the 1990s and put girl power on the map were all on hand at the Piccadilly Theatre for the London premiere.

British tabloids made a good deal of noise out of the fact that Beckham arrived after her ex-bandmates and sat with her soccer star husband David and three sons, who clapped along to the music during the final medley.

Now all young mothers in their late 30s and early 40s, The Spice Girls are still affectionately known by their nicknames they adopted in the band - Posh (Beckham), Scary (Brown), Baby (Bunton), Sporty (Chisholm) and Ginger (Halliwell).

They were hailed as modern-day feminists by some and dismissed as vacuous pop princesses by others, but their success is beyond doubt. They sold 55 million records, had nine British No. 1 singles and three back-to-back Christmas No. 1s.

Unabashed fan Poppy Cosyns, was one of the few critics to gush enthusiastically about the show in her review for the Sun.

"As a true fan, I was worried that the jukebox musical formula might not work with their songs but Jennifer Saunders has done a great job with the script and the show flows really well," she wrote.

The band broke up around 12 years ago, their bickering eagerly chronicled by Britain's celebrity-obsessed tabloids.

Perhaps surprisingly, given the bust-ups and hissy fits, the group has been united in its backing of the new musical, and underlining the Spice Girls' lasting popularity, they played a major part in the closing ceremony at the London Olympics.

The Guardian's Alexis Petridis compared it favorably only to the "baleful shadow" of Ben Elton's Queen-themed "We Will Rock You" musical.

"It would be nice if, metaphorically speaking, it pinched Prince Charles's bum a few more times," he wrote. "Still, it zips along cheerily enough, and compared with We Will Rock You, it's a work of untrammeled genius."

Despite its flaws, Petridis said the show's success will lie in the hands of the legions of fans who propelled the Spice Girls to the top of the charts in the first place.

"Faint praise perhaps, but never mind: judging by the crowds of thirty-something ladies leaving the theatre singing 'Stop and Say You'll Be There', Viva Forever! is critic-proof." 

© 2015 Enstarz, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Tagged :   Spice Girls
facebook tweet this pin it plus
Contribute to this Story send us a tip send us a tip send us a tip
Sign Up for Newsletters

Around The Web

  • SEARCH ENSTARS

Katrina Kaif

Did Katrina Kaif's Co-Star Reveal She Is Engaged?

Oops! Did a Bollywood star accidentally announce that Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor are engaged?

Big Brother

Will Clay Be Evicted From the 'Big Brother 17' House Instead Of Shelli?

Vanessa may have the power to orchestrate a Clay eviction this week.

Alyssa Milano

Enstars Exclusive: Alyssa Milano Spoke To Us About Her 'Fan-Gear Fashion Empire'

A 'Who's The Boss?' standout has made the transition into female fan-gear fashion and exclusively spoke to us about it.

Teresa Giudice

The Blame Game For Teresa Giudice's Jail Sentence Begins!

Teresa Giudice is involved in a blame game as a judge has to decide whether it's her fault she is in jail.

Witches Of East End

'Witches Of East End' Petition Gains A Good Haul Of More Signatures...But Is It Too Late For A Renewal?

The petition for a 'Witches of East End' renewal has gained a massive amount of signatures in the past month.

Ashlyn Pearce

Ashlyn Pearce Speaks Out About Aly's Shocking Death On 'The Bold and the Beautiful'

The actress took to social media to address the trn of events and thank fans for their support.

Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar

The Duggars Are In Desperate Need Of Some Cash

The Duggars are asking their fans for money.

Cecil the Lion

The Internet Is Pissed At An American Dentist Who Killed Cecil The Lion

After Walter Palmer was outed by the media, people took to social media to express outrage at him.

Kalenna Harper

Did 'LHHATL' Star Kalenna Harper Just Blast 'Fool' Rasheeda In New Diss Record?

Kalenna Harper has possibly put her feelings for Rasheeda on a diss track.

Terrence Howard

'Empire' Star Terrence Howard Faces Real Drama, Ex-Wife Hits Him With Assault Lawsuit, Details Inside [

Terrence Howard is on the top of the world in his career with the new success of 'Empire.' But his personal life is getting the spotlight as his wife claims he physically assaultd her.

Bobbi Kristina Brown

Bobbi Kristina Brown's Friend Calls Out Her Family For 'Planning For Her Death'

A friend of Bobbi Kristina Brown has turned the tables on her family and suggested revealed what she said is the truth behind what happened leading up to Bobbi Kristina's death.

Kim Matula

Will Hope Return On 'The Bold and the Beautiful' To Fight With Steffy Over Liam Again?

The rumor mill is once again churning out potential reasons for Kim Matula to reprise the role

Mark Harmon

'NCIS' Season 13 Premiere Episode Officially Titled 'Stop the Bleeding'

What does the premiere episode title of 13th season of 'NCIS' mean?

Pasta

Vegan Couple Pasta Rage: Flips Out in 1,300 Word Rant After Being Charged $24 Instead of $12 for Pasta

A vegan couple flipped out at a restaurant after they were charged for a meal even though they brought their own food.

Latest News

Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi

Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi Debuts Lip Injections On Instagram

Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi just got a new set of lips.

Blake Shelton & Mirande Lambert

Blake Shelton Talks ABout His Divorce In First Interview

The singer appeared in good spirits as he addressed his divorce from Miranda Lambert

Giuliana Rancic

Giuliana Rancic Shares Makeup-Free Selfie On Instagram

Giuliana Rancic has shared an all-natural selfie with her fans on social media.

Perrie Edwards

Did Zayn Malik End His Relationship With Perrie Edwards?

Little Mix's Perrie Edwards is sans engagement ring so is the wedding to Zayn Malik off for good?

Finn Wittrock

'American Horror Story' Star Finn Wittrock Says Matt Bomer Is 'Not Happy' With Him In 'Hotel'

It's looking like Finn Wittrock and Matt Bomer will really battle over Lady Gaga in 'AHS: Hotel'.

Michelle Knight

Cleveland Kidnapping Victim Michelle Knight 'Seizes The Moment'

Michelle Knight is continuing to see the beauty that life has to offer after facing a numerous amount of torture years ago.

Kendra Wilkinson & Hank Baskett

Kendra Wilkinson Says TV Helped Her Marriage To Hank Baskett

Despite the criticism, she believes it was the right move to save their marriage

Lisa Vanderpump, Kyle Richards & Lisa Rinna

Lisa Rinna Tweets Of Possible 'RHOBH' Drama, Kyle Richards Responds

Lisa Rinna and Kyle Richards recently spoke on Twitter, possibly about 'RHOBH' drama.

Evelyn Lozada

'Livin' Lozada's Heading To New York In Saturday's Episode

Watch as Evelyn Lozada continues to hunt for answers about her grandpa in 'Livin' Lozada' teaser.

Switched At Birth

Bay & Travis Bond Over Their Broken Hearts In 'Switched At Birth' Sneak Peek

Bay is going to be heart-stricken over her breakup with Emmett on 'Switched at Birth,' but at least she'll have a friend she can rely on.

Real Time Analytics