Thursday, 20 December 2012
Theatre review: Viva Forever!
The story, such as it is, sees Viva (Hannah John-Kamen) take part in a TV talent show as part of a girl group with her three best friends. But no sooner have they qualified for the live rounds than their name "Eternity" is put to the test, as their Sharon Osbourne-esque mentor Simone (Sally Dexter) announces she's ditching the rest of the girlband to have Viva go ahead as a solo act. So Viva leaves her friends behind, and is occasionally haunted by this, when it's not the other plot strand bothering her: Her adoptive mother Lauren (Sally Ann Triplett) who lives in a houseboat BECAUSE UNCONVENTIONAL, and who is worried that her daughter needs to find her birth mother despite the fact that Viva has shown absolutely no interest in doing so.
Even the fun and energy of the original Spice Girls songs is largely leached as many of them get slowed down. The audience did seem to be having fun at Viva Forever! but it was largely because they were up for a good time, not because anything about Saunders' script was joyful or original. Whether it's in the form of a few glasses of wine or just an unquashable enthusiasm for the music, if you want to have fun at this show you'll have to bring it with you beforehand.
Viva Forever! by Judy Craymer, Jennifer Saunders, Matt Rowe, Richard Stannard, Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Rodney Jerkins, LaShawn Daniels, Fred Jerkins III, Harvey Mason Jr, Andy Watkins, Paul Wilson, Geri Halliwell, Eliot Kennedy, Clifford Lane, Mary Wood, Rick Nowels and Billy Steinberg is booking until the 1st of June at the Piccadilly Theatre.
Running time: 2 hours 35 minutes including interval.