Spice Girls musical not forever

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 ($9.1 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.

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 - Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton, Victoria Beckham, Mel C and Mel B - as characters.

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

Viva Forever! was backed by Simon Fuller, the music entrepreneur who put the "girl power" quintet together, and Universal Music.

Biggest West End flops

Oscar Wilde: The Musical
Opened at the Shaw Theatre in London on a Tuesday in 2005 and closed on Wednesday after the kindest review called it "the worst musical in the world, ever".

Gone With The Wind: The Musical
Closed 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 survived for just two and a half weeks at the Aldwych Theatre.

Desperately Seeking Susan
Musical version of the Madonna film, married to the music of Blondie, closed after just one month.

- Independent

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