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Sugar and old spice

(Reuters) / 28 June 2012

THE SPICE GIRLS reunited for a few hours on Tuesday to launch a new musical based on songs that made them one of the biggest bands of the 1990s, but there was time for plenty of laughs, avowals of mutual love and even the odd catty aside.

Viva Forever!, written by British comedian Jennifer Saunders and produced by Mamma Mia! mastermind Judy Craymer, opens at the Piccadilly Theatre in London’s West End on December 11.

Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm and Geri Halliwell were back together 12 years after they split and seven years since their reunion tour.

“I don’t think it took (us) any convincing at all,” Chisholm told a small group of reporters. “It’s something we’ve spoken about a lot over the years. I think that our music lends itself really well to theatre and when we reunited in 2007 that was when we started to talk about it more seriously.”

Beckham added: “We always said if we do this we want to work with the best people, because that’s what we’ve always done. Everything we’ve done we’ve done properly and we’ve got the ‘A-team.’”

The Spice Girls’ level of involvement in the musical was not fully clear, although they were consulted on the storyline and have seen early workshops.

“As much as we’ve written the songs, we also didn’t want to creatively stifle Judy and Jennifer,” Beckham said.

“Their success speaks for themselves. We really gave them the freedom to do their thing. We had a lot of faith in them.”

Beckham hoped Viva Forever! would bring girl power to a new audience.

“We talked about girl power for a long long time and we’re hoping to introduce a whole new generation. What we do individually as well is empower women and it’s fun - we want to have fun and we’re excited.”

Viva Forever! is not a re-telling of the Spice Girls’ meteoric rise to global fame after they formed in 1994 having answered an advertisement to form a girl band.

While it does feature their hits, which include Wannabe, Spice Up Your Life and Viva Forever, it centres around four characters who audition for a TV talent show.

“It’s not about actually us, it’s the essence of the Spice Girls,” said Halliwell.

“There is a talent show in there, but actually, really what it’s about is about friendship, it’s about motherhood and then there is a little bit of how do you juggle between success and friendship?”

Asked about how they had got along since coming together to promote and work on the musical, Halliwell replied: “We actually do have quite a good time together when it’s just us lot.”

 
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