On paper, Viva Forever sounds fantastic: a modern musical co-written by comedy legend Jennifer Saunders featuring the music of pop icons the The Spice Girls. In reality, Viva Forever is an overlong, (mostly) unfunny and underwhelming show which makes even the most devout Spice fan question their musical taste.
The premise centres around an X Factor-type programme called Star Maker. The main character Viva, one of a four-girl singing group called Eternity, gets through to the end stages of the TV talent show. Her mentor, ageing diva Simone, forces her to leave her bandmates and friends behind and carry on in the process solo as well as later to reveal to the press that she’s adopted. Does Viva want to know her real mother? Or will she come to appreciate her adopted mother, Lauren, and her former friends? Oh, there’s also a love story subplot which feels so much like an afterthought the romantic interest’s name fades from memory almost instantly.
It does feature all the songs you’d expect but they don’t come around quick enough between the flat dialogue and comedy ‘set-pieces’ of the drunk family friend or the frequent excruciatingly sincere reflections and doubts of Viva’s mother.
It’s not all terrible though, there’s a genuinely hilarious scene between Viva’s mother and her fancyman to the backdrop of ‘2 become 1’, the acting is largely very good and the production values are as high as you’d expect. However, none of this comes close to masking a musical flop.
If you want to experience the show for yourself, you can get tickets from Shows in London.