West End (Spice) Girls

I’ll tell you what you want, what you really, really want. A jukebox musical based on the hits of the Spice Girls. No? Well there are plenty who will welcome the latest commercial venture in a West End that is already dominated by nostalgic pop musicals like Mamma Mia and We Will Rock You.

The Spice Girls welcomed their status as theatre fodder for touring coach parties from Bridlington when they launched Viva Forever! at the St Pancras hotel in London. "Sixteen years ago I couldn't have imagined when we were writing the lyric "zigazig ah" it would end up in a West End show," Geri Halliwell said.

It might be pushing it to call "zigazig ah" a lyric, and it might be pushing it to imply that the Spice Girls wrote their own songs. They certainly haven’t written the stage show. That task fell to Jennifer Saunders, queen of camp fabulousness. Saunders explained what appealed to her about the Spice Girls: "There's an irreverence, but also an ability to speak to kids and grown-ups and for it not to be a sexualised, threatening experience."

Just as in their heyday, there was a whole lot of nonsense spouted. "What we do individually is really empower women," said Victoria Beckham, exemplar of the feminist ideals of marrying a footballer, starving yourself to remain painfully thin and starting a fashion label.

Mel B, after seeing some workshops with the young cast, said, "They sing it better than us," setting the show’s ambitions fairly low. Her final observation on the Spice Girls’ influence was: "All my bitches are great." Ah yes, among its other achievements Girl Power always meant reclaiming the word "bitches".

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