Spice Girls back looking hotter with age
The Spice Girls have reunited to launch a new musical based on the songs that made them one of the biggest pop groups of the '90s, and there's time for plenty of laughs, avowals of mutual love and even the odd catty aside.
Viva Forever!, written by British comedian Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous) and produced by Mamma Mia! mastermind Judy Craymer, opens at the Piccadilly Theatre in London's West End on 11th December.
Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm and Geri Halliwell—or to use their more familiar monikers Posh, Scary, Baby, Sporty and Ginger Spice—are back together 12 years after they split and seven years since their reunion tour.
Any appearance by all five Spice Girls is a major media event in the UK, where they introduced the concept of "girl power" and were hailed as modern-day feminists by some and "sugar-pop" pin-up girls by others.
Tabloids delighted in unearthing behind-the-scenes tensions and tantrums between the members when they were a major force in pop, but for the most part, their current appearance is harmonious.
"I don't think it took us any convincing at all," says Mel C. "It's something we've spoken about a lot over the years. I think our music lends itself really well to theatre, and when we reunited in 2007 that was when we started to talk about it more seriously."
"We always said if we do this we want to work with the best people, because that's what we've always done," says Victoria. "Everything we've done we've done properly and we've got the A-team."
The Spice Girls' level of involvement in the musical isn't fully clear, although they're being consulted on the storyline and have seen early workshops.
"As much as we've written the songs, we also didn't want to creatively stifle Judy and Jennifer," Victoria adds. "So somewhat, we have let them do what they do. Their success speaks for themselves. We really gave them the freedom to do their thing. We had a lot of faith in them."
Victoria, who has remained in the limelight since the group went into hiatus in 2000 due to her success as a designer, style icon and marriage to David Beckham, hopes Viva Forever! will bring girl power to a new audience.
"We talked about girl power for a long, long time and we're hoping to introduce a whole new generation. What we do individually as well is empower women and it's fun—we want to have fun and we're excited."
Viva Forever! is not a retelling of the Spice Girls' meteoric rise to global fame after they formed in 1994, having answered an advertisement to form a girl group. While it does feature their hits, which include Wannabe and Spice Up Your Life, it centres around four characters who audition for a TV talent show.
"It's not about actually us, it's the essence of the Spice Girls," says Geri, who like the others is a mother in her 30s. "There is a talent show in there, but actually really what it's about is about friendship, it's about motherhood, and then there is a little bit of how do you juggle between success and friendship?"
Asked about how they're getting along since coming together to work on the musical, Geri replies: "We actually do have quite a good time together when it's just us lot." Mel B also states that at the musical workshops, the performers "sing it better than us".
Published: 17th July 2012