LONDON – “Viva Forever”? Not as it turns out.
Producers announced Thursday that the Spice Girls musical will close at London’s Piccadilly Theater June 29 after a disappointing six-month run.
Producer Judy Craymer said despite tweaks since the show opened in December, “we just can’t make it work.”
Written by “Absolutely Fabulous” comedian Jennifer Saunders, the show is a modern-day tale of female friendship and mother-daughter bonds set to songs by the 1990s “Girl Power” icons.
It set out to take a timely satirical axe to our information-saturated age of Twitter and TV talent shows, but the critics were overwhelmingly hostile.
The Independent newspaper’s Paul Taylor called the show “lacking in any truly original or challenging spark,” while the Daily Telegraph’s Charles Spencer found it “tawdry, lazy and unedifying.”
Others felt that aside from a few hits — “Wannabe,” ”Stop,” ”Who Do You Think You Are?” — the Spice Girls’ catalogue wasn’t strong enough to support a two-and-a-half hour show.
The five-member group, known for its brash attitude and “Cool Britannia” branding, shot to fame in 1996 and sold 75 million records around the world. The Spice Girls still have many fans but, 15 years later they were not enough to sustain a West End show.
Craymer, who produced the mega-hit ABBA musical “Mamma Mia,” said it was “with a heavy heart that we’ve had to make this very difficult decision to post closing notices for this original show.”
“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,” she said.
Emma “Baby Spice” Bunton tweeted that she was “totally gutted” to learn the show was closing.
In a statement, the Spice Girls thanked the show’s cast and their fans.
“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,” the statement said.