The building excitement of such a Spiced up musical prompts this child of the 90's to turn off the girl-powered music, put down the Impulse can and face the serious questions. . . .
It is with a grandiose and unashamed eagerness that I have spent many sleepless nights anticipating the forthcoming Spice Girl musical since it’s announcement earlier this year. Who can resist the pure excitement that comes from knowing your adolescent superheroes are about to be reincarnated for the theatrical stage?
Knowing that there are most certainly others like myself who, in their youth, claimed a Spice as their own and dressed accordingly (weekends only, of course) to affirm their devotion, I thought it was high time I took a closer look at the details of this pending Mecca.
For instance, who will be playing Ginger? Which celebrity will tackle the vocal prowess of Sporty? Which haircut will Posh be displaying? Will there be five girls in Act One and four by the finale?
Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered that there were no available answers for the questions above. Not because there is little released detail or press covering the matter, but simply, because there are no Spice Girls in the Spice Girl musical.
Now, I’m not talking about Scary spice being unable to break her contract with X Factor to play herself on stage, or Posh spice being unable to dance anymore for fear of snapping in half, I’m talking about the character breakdown that will appear on page three of the libretto.
Let me make this clear: The Spice Girls musical will contain no individual Spices, nor will it aim to portray in any way the lives of the girls behind each Spice Girl. In fact, it may not even contain five girls related by any common narrative.
Titled Viva Forever the show is hinted at as being a romantic comedy musical that will ‘concoct a new story’ from linking together the Spice Girls’ best hits. Call me skeptical, but I feel a sense of hesitation about a romantic comedy which may take narrative from phrases such as; ‘if you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends’, ‘slam me to the left’ or ‘I really wanna zigazig ah’, I mean, will this be G rated?
If they’re going to take away the Spice Girls themselves, then, what next? The dance moves? As one not entirely unfamiliar with an obsessive compulsive nature, I feel a certain unease and injustice at the the thought of the ‘Stop’ chorus being choreographed with bodyrolls.
In other, less judgmental news, Judy Craymer, the shows producer, has actually had some very exciting things to report about the direction of the show, stating that it will ‘encompass the Spice Girls ethos of friendship, identity and being true to yourself’. Director of the piece will be Marianne Elliot, recent co-director of the Tony Winning War Horse, who Craymer states ‘with her aptitude for exploring strong women and their relationships . . . is absolutely the right person to be directing this new musical which is all about female friendship, celebrity and fame.’
Announced recently also was the decision to cast unknowns for this spicy venture. Craymer is confident that the production ‘will be strong enough in it’s own right’ to take the chance on potential performance newbies, giving them an undoubted world first opportunity. If I wasn’t stuck in Australia, bound by University attendance requirements, the first thing I’d be doing after hearing this news is wrapping myself in a British flag, dying my hair flambe orange and jetting myself off to West End as we speak. I do hope, however, that the lovely Judy Craymer is aware that ex-idol and Iron Chef runners-up do not qualify as unknowns.
Bitterness and dubiety aside, I am actually quite excited for my beloved Spices to be the musical influence for a new show. That, and with the incomparable Jennifer Saunders at the script-writing helm, I’m sure the tale will win every Spice Girl devotee over.
Without relenting completely, however, I hereby make it known that if they open the show with that dreadful Spice mistake ‘Holler’ and neglect to costume anyone in glittering platform boots, I will be drawing up a twelve page petition and campaigning for a re-write.