Monday, 22 April 2013

Review of VIVA FOREVER post changes

*WARNING: If you haven't seen the show, be warned that there may be spoilers in this review. 


Viva Forever! opened in December at the Piccadilly Theatre and opened to negative reviews, everyone seemed to hate this production! I for one actually enjoyed the show when I saw it; I honestly thought it was fun. It’s not a National Production, so I have no idea what people are expecting when they go and see this show! Admittedly, it was far from perfect and it needed to be revised but it wasn’t as bad as people have said. People just seem to be going in with a bad attitude. 
For those of you that don't know (where have you been?!) the show has been adapted since opening, script re-writes have been made, songs have been cut/added in, scenes have been mixed up and the show as a whole as a hell of a lot better. It’s still a tacky, Friday night show that is purely a good time but it’s now a lot tighter than before. First things first, the fact that Viva is adopted isn’t such a huge thing anymore. It is brought up and tried to use as a story to get her in the newspapers when they go to Spain but it’s not a big deal and genuinely comes as a surprise to the audience. 
The show didn’t have an opening number before, it opened with an overture with the audition tapes played to the audience and then straight into a scene, kind of like a TV series with opening credits. But now it opens with the whole cast on stage (in different costumes, as auditionees) singing Wannabe. To be honest, it’s not very well choreographed and they just walk about the stage for a few minutes with an extra rapped bit (very badly mimed) by Luce (played by Siobhan Athwal). Although it has its problems it’s a good opening and picks up the audiences energy straight away and the theatre has such a better atmosphere after. 
Whereas it was a big deal for the four girls to be going to London, it now seems they live there as ‘Right back at Ya’ is more casual rather than a ‘OH MY GOD WE’RE GOING ON A LONDON TUBE!’ which now works as a nice transition to the next stage of the Star Maker auditions. ‘The Lady is A Vamp’ is listed as a song in it when I first saw it however it actually made no appearance in the musical! But in this re-worked version it comes as they are going into wardrobe for their make-over, it is a nice addition but I feel they could have placed it in a more relevant place. They just say ‘We are meant to be rehearsing that song...’ afterwards to justify why they are performing it.
The transition to when they go to Spain is still basically the same, the photographer bit with Viva is different and I actually prefer it before the change. ‘Spice Up Your Life’ is still unfortunately the same. The big weird heads still make an appearance and the Bull is still there. However the whole Spain section does run a lot smoother, the whole thing is basically the same but it’s more centered on how it affects Viva. The whole pre-thing with Lauren chasing her to Spain is now cut, she just appears to stop the filming which does work better but I feel there should have been a scene with her to explain why she needed to follow Viva to Spain but it was ok; seems a lot less messy. Viva also now just leaves the competition when Simone tries to get her real mother on the show, this does cut it off quite suddenly but it gets rid of all the crap that comes after. 
There still isn’t any real ending, it just kind of ends like before! Viva stopped the performance on the live show and her fellow band members then joined her on stage which then lead onto the Mega Mix but now the ending seems to be Viva leaving the programme and leaving Spain. So they go straight into the Mega-Mix afterwards. 
I also love that Simone is now a more rounded character in the production, before she wasn’t being developed enough but now we see a softer side to her which makes you feel for her which adds so much to the plot. Performance wise, I saw an understudy in the role of Karen last time so this time round I got to see Tamara Wall do it. She plays the Essex stereotype really well; she hilarious in the role and even though she didn’t have a huge part your attention was still drawn to her when she was on stage. This time round I also got to see Kirstie Skivington play the role of Diamond; I couldn’t help but think she was exactly like Melanie C. She was so alike her it was ridiculous, but she was fantastic in the role and she’s got one hell of a voice! 
The whole cast seems to be playing up to the audience a lot more and it really works with this show, it’s not Billy Elliot. It’s not Matilda. It’s not War Horse. So why people are going in with those types of expectations, I don’t know! It’s a fun show, buy a glass of wine and have a good time. 
It’s not for critical analysis, ENJOY THE FREAKIN’ SHOW AND SPICE UP YOUR LIFE!



Viva Forever! is currently playing at the Piccadilly Theatre
Cast Includes: Sally Ann Triplett, Hannah John kamen, Siobhan Athwal, Lucy Phelps, Dominique Provost Chalkley, Lucy Montgomery, Simon Slater, Bill Ward, Sally Dexter, Tamara Wall, Ben Cura, Hatty Preston, Simon Adkins, Anthony Topham, Tom Kanavan, Zak Nemorin, Curtis Angus, Luke Jackson, Oliver Roll, David Rudin, Darren Carnall, Myles Brown, Charlotte Gorton, Rebecca Mckinnis, Lucy Thatcher, Roxanne Palmer, Charlotte Walcott, Sophie Carmen-Jones, Carla Nella, Kirstie Skivington and Helen Ternent




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