October 31, 2014 | Updated at 11:25 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." 

© 2014 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

Hank Baskett, Kendra Wilkinson

Transsexual Model Calls Hank Baskett A Manipulative Liar--Find Out Her Side Of The Cheating Scandal Story

Kendra Wilkinson may have forgiven her husband Hank Baskett after he became involved in a cheating scandal with a transsexual model, but she may soon come to regret her decision.

Jessa Duggar

Jessa Duggar Expecting 800 Guests At Her Wedding

It looks as though Jessa Duggar's weekend wedding to Ben Seewald is gearing up to be quite the affair.

Bow Wow, Erica Mena

Bow Wow Reveals Why He Won't Be On VH1's 'Love & Hip New York' With Erica Mena

Rapper Bow Wow has revealed why fans will not see him on the upcoming season of Love & Hip Hop New York with his new fiancé Erica Mena.

Bill Cosby

Queen Latifah Reportedly Cancels Interview With Bill Cosby After Rape Allegations

Television icon Bill Cosby was supposed to make an appearance on Queen Latifah's talk show, but it looks like that won't be happening after a shocking report became public.

Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood's Top Pregnancy Moments

It's been almost two months since country superstar Carrie Underwood announced that she and husband Mike Fisher are expecting their first child, but in this short time the singer has provided fans with a number of memorable moments.

Drake

SURPRISE! Drake Releases Three New Tracks, Out of No Where-- Listen!

Drake gave his fans a major gift in celebration of his 28th birthday: Three new songs from his upcoming album, "Views from the 6."

Alexandra Shipp, Jordan Calloway, Letoya Luckett

Alexandra Shipp, Jordan Calloway & Letoya Luckett Discuss "Drumline 2!"

When "Drumline" hit the box office in 2002, an entire audience was exposed to the inner workings of what it's like to be a part of a marching band at an HBCU for a young man, but this time, Vh1 reprised the story with a little more girl power.

Tiny harris

Tiny Changed Her Eye Color, But Is It Safe For You?

Tameka "Tiny" Harris, T.I.'s wife and star of "Tiny & Shekinah's Weave Trip," permanently changed her eye color and most of her fans are having a hard time understanding why.

Lauren White of 'Party Down South' with Lil' Bit's ex-boyfriend Grant Meredith

Is 'Party Down South' Star Lauren White Dating Lil' Bit's Ex-Boyfriend Grant?

Lil' Bit expressed some extreme jealousy when Lauren had a phone conversation with her then-boyfriend Grant during the second season of Party Down South-but her feelings may have been justified now that Lauren appears to be growing closer to him.

Taylor 'Lil Bit' Wright of 'Party Down South'

'Party Down South' Star Taylor 'Lil' Bit' Wright Reveals Whether She Wants A Boy Or Girl

She shared some big news with her fans recently that she's pregnant, and though she's looking forward to the next chapter of her life, Party Down South star Taylor 'Lil Bit' Wright won't be picky when it comes to her future child's gender.

Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton

5 Most Outrageous Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert Rumors

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert have been in the tabloids ever since the country singers first married in 2011.

Mike Fisher and Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood's Tour Slowing Down This Fall

Country superstar Carrie Underwood spent the summer touring and working on her new album, but this fall the mother-to-be is slowing things down.

Tiny harris

Tiny Claps Back at the Haters Who are Talking About Her New Eye Color, Including Wendy Williams

While many fans, including Wendy Williams, have spoken out against Tiny's decision to change her eye color with brightocular surgery, others have expressed loyal support to the "Family Hustle" star.

Benzino and Stevie J

Benzino Calls Out Stevie J & Joseline Hernandez For Faking Pregnancy, Warns Fans To 'Pay Attention'

Love & Hip Hop Atlanta star Benzino has thrown quite a bit of shade at his former friend Stevie J and said that the producer's claim that he and his wife Joseline Hernandez are expecting a child is a fake ploy for attention.

Mama June Honey boo boo

It Gets Worse - Mama June Exposes Alana Thompson To Sex Offender

Although Mama June denied seeing registered sex offender Mark McDaniel, new photos show them together again. But, this time it's worse - her daughter Honey Boo Boo is also with them.

Latest News

J. K. Rowling

Will There Be a New Character in Harry Potter?

LONDON (Reuters) - As a Halloween treat for her fans, J.K. Rowling has revealed that the much-hated character Dolores Umbridge from her "Harry Potter" stories is based on a teacher to whom she took an instant dislike - but whose name she has not disclosed.

Letoya Luckett

Letoya Luckett Tells Us She's Coming Back with a New Album! WATCH!

Letoya Luckett is a talented actress who just happened to start her career as a member of Destiny's Child. Now, she plans to return to her musical roots with a brand new album.

Kim Kardashian

What's a Waist Trainer? Here are 7 Things You Need to Know About the Latest Body Craze

With the help of Khloe and Kim Kardashian, women all over the nation have begun the latest body shaping craze: waist training.

Jenny McCarthy & Donnie Wahlberg

See How Jenny McCarthy & Donnie Wahlberg Celebrated Their First Halloween As A Married Couple!

They've been married just two months, but Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg appear ready to channel an iconic movie couple.

Tori Spelling

Tori Spelling's Reality Show Is Bombing In The Ratings

It looks as though Tori Spelling isn't doing a very good job at keeping her audience engaged with her personal antics, as her reality television show, True Tori, is supposedly bombing in the ratings.

Kylie Jenner

Kylie Jenner Shares A Provocative Photo

It looks as though Kylie Jenner is fast becoming one of the most controversial members of the Kardashian family this year.

Ewan McGregor and his wife Eve Mavrakis

Ewan McGregor & Maggie Gyllenhaal's New Broadway Show Gets Mixed Reviews

Thirty years after its initial Broadway run, Scottish actor Ewan McGregor is heading an all-star cast in the latest revival of Tom Stoppard's Tony winning play, "The Real Thing," about love, truth, marriage and infidelity.

Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler Calls Instagram 'Sexist' For Removing Her Topless Photo

Chelsea Handler called Instagram "sexist" after a certain photo of hers was deleted.

Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez's Trial Is Staying Put In Bristol County For Now

It looks as though Aaron Hernandez's defense team might have to take one step back for now.

Rihanna

Rihanna Honors Tom Ford in Very Revealing Dress

Rihanna was present at amfAR’s fifth annual Inspiration Gala on Wednesday to honor Tom Ford, yet it was her revealing outfit that turned heads.

Featured Videos

From Our Partners

Amazon Fire Phone

Amazon Fire Phone Was Too Expensive, Amazon VP Says, But The Company Will Continue With The Device

It's no secret that sales of Amazon's Fire Phone have been less than ideal, but Amazon isn't giving up on the property. In an interview with Fortune, a senior vice president at Amazon confirmed that Amazon is sticking to its guns and continuing development for the device.

Andy Murray

Andy Murray, Not Roger Federer, Biggest Challenge to Novak Djokovic's No. 1 Ranking? [VIDEO]

While most of the tennis world is awaiting the outcome of Roger Federer's chase of Novak Djokovic's No. 1 ranking, another contender has flown under the radar and put himself into position to be the 2015 Roger Federer. Reintroducing Andy Murray.

Walmart

Black Friday Sales 2014: Walmart Launches Black Friday Deals On Monday [VIDEO]i

Walmart is launching its Black Friday deals on Monday, Nov. 3.

Catelynn Lowell

Catelynn Lowell Baby Girl: Pregnant 'Teen Mom' Shows Off Bump, New Clothing [VIDEO]

Catelynn Lowell is less than three months away from welcoming her second child.

Harry Styles

Celebrity Leaked Photos 2014: One Direction's Harry Styles Comments On Nude Photo Scandal [VIDEO]

Harry Styles won't be the next victim of the ongoing celebrity photo hackings.

Halo The Master Chief Collection

ESL Master Chief Collection Launch Tournament Details: These Eight Pro Teams Will Compete In Halo 2 Anniversary For $50,000

The launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection for Xbox One is being celebrated in a number of ways, and few are larger than ESL's Halo 2 Anniversary tournament.

Football Manager 2015

Football Manager 2015 Beta's Best Features: Our 4 Favorite Changes And Additions To This Year's Sim

Sports Interactive are currently offering a mutually beneficial Football Manager 2015 beta (which has been available since October 23 to those who pre-order the game before its November 7 launch), and it's allowed players to gather some thoughts on the title--here are our favorite additions.

Roger Federer

No. 1 Ranking Out of Reach for Federer? Loss in Paris Expands Novak Djokovic's Year-End Lead [VIDEO]

Just when it seems Roger Federer is about to re-conquer the tennis world, his makes a misstep that reminds everyone that the year is 2014, not 2007.

Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart Over Kevin Ward Death? Stewart Sets Record With 200 mph practice lap in Texas [VIDEO]

Tony Stewart may never forget his involvement in the tragic death of Kevin Ward Jr. But his performance Friday at Texas Motor Speedway suggests that Stewart has moved on.

Real Time Analytics