|pic from popbytes.com|
However, I was fortunate enough to go and see the show myself last night, and feel the need to explain why the critics were wrong.
For starters, Christopher Hart (and probably the majority of the critics) is a middle-aged man - hardly the target demographic of the show, am I right? Viva Forever is a show predominantly aimed at young women who were fans of the Spice Girls way back when, and I think the critics need to bear that in mind when they write their reviews.
What's more, the stuffy theatre critics probably love their high-brow culture, so naturally weren't going to get any of the hilarious popular-culture references that had us in fits on Saturday night. The story of Viva Forever is set around a reality TV show, and we had judges making clear caricatures of Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne, another one who claimed a performer had "spunk" (Nicole Scherzinger on this year's X Factor, anyone?), and a host who was clearly the love child of Dermot O'Leary and Ant & Dec (I realise that's three people, but you get my drift), who even did Dermot's signature pointy twist to open the show. There was TOWIE speak, Twitter hashtag jokes and fit topless men. Obviously, the show was never going to be your standard theatre critic's cup of tea.
And the thing is, I highly doubt the atmosphere in the theatre on opening night was anything like it was yesterday, when it was full of Spice Girls fans. It was almost like a panto really, and the show lent itself very well to that. We were singing along, doing the dances, whooping, and even calling back to the performers. And because we were having so much fun, the actors will have undoubtedly lifted their energy and performances as a result. I think my favourite moment of the whole show was in Two Become One when two of the performers were singing "I need some love like I've never needed love before", and pretty much the whole audience sang back "Wanna make love to ya, baby". It was brilliant. I highly doubt that happened on opening night.
Sure, Viva Forever isn't the best musical I've ever seen, but by no means is it the worst. I feel like it needed some more hit songs earlier on, and the storyline isn't the strongest, but it's a lot better than the critics have made it out to be.
I highly hope that it's one of those shows which - just like with a lot of films - proves the critics wrong and does really well with the public. We don't always want to come away from a performance questioning the meaning of life and feeling depressed, sometimes we just want to leave singing the Spice Girls and with huge grins on our faces. And after seeing Viva Forever, we all did.
Viva Forever is on at the Piccadilly Theatre in London.