Viva Forever – the musical!

So, as you know, because I keep banging on about it, we went to London on Saturday for a special pre-Christmas day out. I got my hair done, we went to Judy’s Vintage Fair, and bumbled around Camden for a bit – but the main reason for our trip was to see a preview of Viva Forever, the musical based on The Spice Girls’ songs. My husband is a huge Spice Girls fan and still follows their musical careers today, compelled to purchase their recordings… Well, with me it’s shoes and nail varnish, so I can’t really judge!
Viva Forever theatre 3
The musical is being staged at The Piccadilly Theatre, which is pretty small – we were surprised how intimate the musical actually was when we got in there. Our local theatre, The Mayflower in Southampton, is actually much bigger – no wonder it’s sold out. When we saw it, the musical was still very new and hadn’t opened or been reviewed yet, so there were definitely hiccups. The ending was pretty non-existent and abrupt. The second half flagged. There didn’t seem to be any proper focus on certain story arcs over other ones. The girl band idea was ditched after the interval. There was a lot that could be improved. That said, I still loved it. Up until the second act, I was fairly convinced that this was one of the best musicals I’d ever seen – second only to the very excellent We Will Rock You. The production was great – way better than the slightly farcical Jesus Christ Superstar stadium tour we’d been to see in September. The songs were chosen well and fit the plot, for the most part – although there were some album tracks I didn’t know at the beginning. That said, I’m not a fan of the band, so that’s hardly surprising.

The whole performance started off with a bang for me when we were invited to sit in ‘The Ambassador Lounge’, which was formly known as the Tunnel of Love. Ooo err! One of the employees approached us in the lobby and asked us if we’d like to sit in ‘a special area’, and I’m sure we both looked as sceptical as hell at the prospect. “How much is it?” we asked. She told us it was free, and so we agreed at once! “Poste haste to this ‘special area’ please!”

In theatre Ambassador Lounge sign In theatre Ambassador Lounge 3

As you can see, it was quite literally a tunnel, lined with beautiful chairs and tables – very intimate and peaceful compared to the rest of the theatre before curtains up! It also had a great vintage vibe, and matched very nicely with my hair – excellent.

In theatre 3

There was a drinks menu, but of course, being awkward, I wanted one of the special Spice Girls cocktails, so we had to trail all the way up to the bar at the top of the theatre to get one, accompanied by a theatre employee who ordered for us like we were VIPs!

Viva Forever cocktail menu 3

It was hard to pick because they all seemed really nice, but I went with a Sporty Spritz in the end – it tasted like cream soda. Delicious!

Hubby was very excited to see the show (although he later confessed he was nervous in case it was a bit crap…)

In Theatre Michael 4

I was fine as long as I had a cocktail…

In theatre 1

All in all, we had a great time seeing the show – I hope they get the ending fixed, but the first half was sublime. (The second half was rescued at the end by the Spice Girls medly finale, so at least it finished on a high note.) It was written by Jennifer Saunders (her first musical), and was very much in the vein of Mamma Mia – like the British version, if you will! There were some amazing comedy moments from the main character’s mum and her best friend, and an especially hilarious highlight in the second half when two characters sang 2 Become 1 in the bedroom – brilliant! I also really liked the way they performed Viva Forever – Spanish guy, singing parts in Spanish, playing the acoustic guitar – but my husband thought it was cheesy. Personally, I thought it would have been cheesier in English – we like foreign guys because we have no idea what they’re saying, right ladies? It’s probably all about football, computer games or cars, but if it’s FOREIGN it could be literally anything…

In theatre 5

If you go, see if you can get yourself down in the Ambassador Lounge, and also, get yourself one of those delicious cocktails. If you go in ready to be entertained, you’ll have a brilliant time, and if you love Jennifer Saunders’ comedy, you will be in heaven. I would definitely go back to see it again after it’s opened properly – you can’t really judge things too harshly before they’ve been properly polished after all! (You should see me first thing in the morning!)

Outside theatre Viva Forever 1

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