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.

Arts and Entertainment
Keith from The Office ten years on

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams prepares to enter the House of Black and White as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones season five

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Albert Hammond Junior of The Strokes performs at the Natural History Museum on July 6, 2006 in London, England.

music
Arts and Entertainment
Howard Mollison, as played by Michael Gambon
tv review
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech

The best TV shows and films coming to the service

tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Latest stories from i100
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.

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003