Spice Girls hit London for theatrical premiere
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
AFP PhotoAll five members of legendary British pop group The Spice Girls braved sub-zero conditions to greet fans on the red carpet at the opening night of stage musical Viva Forever in London on Tuesday.
Geri "Ginger" Halliwell, Emma "Baby" Bunton, Victoria "Posh" Beckham, Mel "Sporty" C and Mel "Scary" B were joined by show creator Jennifer Saunders to meet hoards of screaming fans at the Piccadilly Theatre in the British capital's West End.
True to form, Beckham kept her bandmates and fans waiting after getting stuck in traffic, but the remaining members kept busy by posing for pictures on their mobile phones and hugging.
The group's biggest hits provide the backdrop to the show, which lampoons TV talent show X Factor and explores the themes of motherhood and friendship.
Writer and comedian Saunders said she was inspired by the five-piece's "extraordinary energy".
"When the Spice Girls were at their prime my three daughters were huge fans and in writing the musical I wanted to bring that all back," she explained in the official programme.
"That sense of excitement and slight anarchy. The joy of being a girl and being able to be whatever kind of girl you choose to be," she added.
Simon Fuller, manager of the 55-million-selling band, threw his weight behind the production, declaring "the spirit behind the Spice Girls lives again." Bunton, Mel B, Halliwell and Beckham all attended with their children, and have previously said they hope that the show will introduce their music to their sons and daughters.
Taking to the stage at the end of the show, the band paid tribute to the show's creators and actors.
"There are so many people to thank, thank you all for being here but the people I'd like to thank is the wonderful cast," said Mel C.
Halliwell praised producer Judy Craymer for "making the Spice Girls' dream come true" calling her a "true woman of girl power".
Beckham, who sat apart from the other members during the show, thanked Saunders and her family "for being here, I love you all." The show follows the fortunes of aspiring singer Viva, played by television actress Hannah John-Kamen, who enters reality talent contest "Star Maker".
Although packed with 1990s nostalgia, the show contains plenty of contemporary pop culture references.
One of the characters working for the reality TV show speaks using Twitter hashtags while Google, Lady Gaga, Downton Abbey and William and Kate all receive a mention.
The show ends fittingly with the band's breakthrough hit, "Wannabee", the biggest selling single ever by an all female band.
Superstar footballer and "Spice Boy" David Beckham joined in as the audience rose to its feet and sang along with an encore medley of upbeat numbers "Stop" and "Spice Up Your Life".
Guests were driven to the nearby after-party in red double decker buses, as seen in movie "Spice World", decorated with "Viva Forever" banners.