Viva Forever? Not exactly - Spice Girls musical closes after six months leaving backers with £5m loss

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

It was called, optimistically, Viva Forever! But six months of scathing reviews and audience indifference has forced the producers to call time on the Spice Girls musical which is to close, leaving its backers with a £5 million loss.

All five band members of the 90s girl group united for the high-profile launch of the West End show at the Piccadilly Theatre last November.

The musical was conceived by Judy Craymer, the impresario behind the global hit Mamma Mia! It was written by comedy star Jennifer Saunders.

Click here or on "View Images" for some of the biggest West End flops in pictures

However the show, which satirised The X Factor, telling the story of an aspiring singer who, with her best friends, gets swept up in a TV talent search, was savaged by critics.

The Independent’s Paul Taylor said it was “lacking in any true original or challenging spark of its own.”

Viva Forever! featured all of the Spice Girls hits, including "Wannabe" but word-of-mouth among audiences was poor. Some expressed disappointment that the show did not feature the Spice Girls as characters.

A revamp failed to improve ticket sales and cast members were told after Wednesday’s performance that the show would close on June 29.

Ms Craymer said: “The show has evolved since we first opened and is now brighter, lighter and funnier, but despite the wonderful audiences and extremely positive feedback we just can't make it work.”

The producer said she announced the decision to post closing notices “with a heavy heart”.

She said: “We set out to create a contemporary story that truly reflects our time; to take a satirical look at the underbelly of a TV talent show and the chaos that ensues for a mother, her daughter and their friends; a theatrical event to embrace all generations both on and off the stage.

“Testament to that achievement is the standing ovation at every performance from an audience of families and friends all enjoying a great night out.

The show was “taking its leave for now in the West End”, Ms Craymer said, leaving the door open for a future return.

Viva Forever! was backed by Simon Fuller, the music entrepreneur who put the “girl power” quintet together and Universal Music. It was hoped that the show would be rolled out as a global franchise, running simultaneously on stages from Broadway to Asia, where the Spice Girls became huge stars.

The band - Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton, Victoria Beckham, Mel C and Mel B - said: “We want to thank the cast and all the fans for their support, and although Viva Forever! won't continue in the West End we are thrilled that the thousands of people who came to the show had as much fun as we did.” Bunton later tweeted that she was “totally gutted”.

Despite Viva Forever!’s failure, a new “talent show”-inspired musical, endorsed by Simon Cowell, is set to open later this year.

The £6 million X Factor - It's Time To Face The Musical! will open at the London Palladium next Spring. Created by comic Harry Hill, the satire on the ITV talent show, featuring the judges as characters and 19 new songs, has been given the go-ahead by producers Stage Entertainment and Cowell's company, Syco Entertainment.

Biggest West End flops:

Oscar Wilde: The Musical

Written and directed by DJ Mike Read, the show opened at the Shaw Theatre in London on a Tuesday and closed on Wednesday after the kindest review called it “the worst musical in the world, ever”. Read, who lost a “small fortune”, revived the 2005 show last year.

Gone With The Wind: The Musical

Rare misstep for Sir Trevor Nunn as £4m stage adaptation of the classic novel Gone with the Wind, starring former Pop Idol contestant Darius Danesh as Rhett Butler, closes more than three months early.  “Blown away on gales of ridicule,” said the Evening Standard.

The Fields of Ambrosia

1996 musical about a travelling executioner in the southern states of America, who took his own electric chair with him wherever he went survived for just two and a half weeks at the Aldwych Theatre. The title song went: “In the Fields of Ambrosia/everyone knows ya.”

Moby Dick

Cameron Mackintosh’s camp, cross-dressing 1992 adaptation of Melville’s novel was harpooned by critics and closed inside four months at the Piccadilly Theatre. The Les Misérables producer predicts a Broadway revival inside two years.

Desperately Seeking Susan

How could a musical version of the Madonna film, married to the music of Blondie fail? Five years after the £4m flop closed after one month, writer Peter Michael Marino has returned with a new show inspired by the opening night reviews, called Desperately Seeking the Exit.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Zina Saro-Wiwa

art
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice