When I heard that the Spice Girls musical was being made, I was excited. Not the quiet, adult excited that most 26 year olds display, but the running to my friend Fi and proclaiming that we absolutely MUST go type of total excitement.
As a child I loved the Spice Girls. I zig a zig aaaahed with the rest of them, not really knowing what it meant (does anyone?) but not wanting to be left out of the revolution that was spicing up ones life. At 10, they were the best thing ever, and there were regular arguments when playing at school over who got to be which Spice Girl. My little sister loved them too, totally confused as to why but knowing with total certainty that if her big sister was doing it, it was absolutely something that she should be doing too.
But, like any 10 year old, I desperately wanted to fit in with the crowd, and as we got slightly older, actually admitting that you liked something was so uncool.
One Sunday evening, we were forced into the car and dragged to London by our Dad on the premise that we were taking his best friend to work. No one works on a Sunday I commented. Can’t I just stay at home with Mum? Little Princess stamped her feet and protested car sickness, going through all the normal avoidance techniques practiced on her Daddy in the past, but he was having none of it.
We sat in the back of the car and sang along to the Top 40, doing the dance moves and being laughed at by the grown ups in the front of the car. My Father remarked that if I remembered school work like I remembered song words I’d be the next Einstein. How rude!
The Spice Girls came on to the radio and my sister and I chattered away at the lyrics, doing the dance routine, until we were asked “So you girls like the Spice Girls?”
“Noooooooooooo! Theyre terrible! Sooooo uncool!” was our response. Typical belligerent little girl stuff.
We pulled up outside Wembley Arena, and were escorted to our seats, ready to watch the Spice Girls. I remember the gut wrenching embarrassment of being so rude when we were being treated to such a present, and the toe curling excitement at being told we were going backstage to meet them after the show. Turns out my Dad’s best friend worked with them and had organised a treat for us. We jiggled through the concert with excitement until the time came and we were whisked through to a room backstage. At this point, my darling little sister ran off, and spent the rest of the evening throwing up, overcome with excitement. She returned briefly for us to have our photo taken with Mel B (which looks scarily like Harry Potter’s female alter ego and a blonde, child version of Mel B with mental blonde curls) before running back to resume throwing up duties.
Fast forward a few (nearly 20) years, and the Olympics was on, complete with Spice Girl boogying on a bus at the ceremony, and everyone was so excited again that they could cry. I watched the closing ceremony with my housemates, and at one point i was torn; I was desperate for the loo but the Spice Girls still hadn’t been on. I ran out the room shouting “If they come on call me, use the code phrase!!” They asked what the code phrase was and heard me screaming from the bathroom “SPICE UP YOUR LIFE, OBVIOUSLY!”
I think that’s set the scene. For most of my life, I have unashamedly loved the Spice Girls, so the idea of going to see the musical was the best thing ever. We dreamed of glittery mini dresses and Union Jacks; cabaret versions of our favourite songs and lots of Girl Power and animal print.
It wasn’t to be. To say it was the most painful two hours of my life would be a total understatement. At one point, Fifi started rummaging in her bag and I was concerned she was looking for a pen to stab herself in the eye with. All ten of us cringed and winced as the Mum and Dad sang 2 Become 1 in some seedy B&B in Spice Girls land, and when asked if I wanted a sip of water I politely asked if there was enough to drown myself with. It was horrible.
See this as a warning (although a good few people have asked me what I expected..) if you loved the Spice Girls with all the space in your teeny tiny little pre teen heart, DON’T GO AND SEE THE MUSICAL. My work here is done.