New Spice Girls musical Viva Forever! has been hit with a slew of harsh reviews following its West End debut on Tuesday (11Dec12).
Singers Melanie Chisholm, Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown, Geri Halliwell and Victoria Beckham reunited in London for the opening night of the big-budget stage show, which incorporates the girl group's greatest hits, but critics were less than impressed with the production.
Paul Taylor of Britain's The Independent newspaper gave Viva Forever! just two out of five stars and called comedienne Jennifer Saunders' script "charmless, messy, lacklustre", before declaring, "Viva Forever! forever? I rather think not."
The Daily Telegraph's Charles Spencer branded the plot "insultingly banal", writing, "This musical is tawdry, lazy and unedifying, and one could sense a miasma of disappointment emanating from an audience of up-for-it Spice Girls fans realising that they had paid top whack (a lot of money) to see a clunker."
Alex Petridis of The Guardian blamed the Spice Girls' back catalogue for the show's failures, insisting, "There aren't enough memorable hits in a career that lasted for three albums to support two hours of theatre... The lyrics are required to drive the action on, and these lyrics are appalling."
But he concedes scathing reviews won't hamper the musical's success, adding, "Judging by the crowds of thirtysomething ladies leaving the theatre singing Stop and Say You'll Be There, Viva Forever! is critic-proof."