Shock horror - the new Spice Girls musical, which opened in London this week, isn’t a cracker, it’s a Christmas turkey.
Viva Forever may turn out to be an unfortunate title, if it’s quickly consigned to The Great Green Room In The Sky, alongside Broadway bombs like Into The Light, which disappeared into the darkness after six shows. Not surprising, given the subject-matter - The Turin Shroud. The production was so God-awful, that one writer dubbed it Jesus Christ Tablecloth.
Then there was Senator Joe, a musical about Joe McCarthy, that included a scene set in his liver featuring diseased, but dancing - white blood cells. It was pronounced dead after three previews. Top of the flops was Kelly - its opening night was also its closing night. Joy of joys - the big number in the show that everyone loathed was ... Everyone Here Loves Kelly.
Viva Forever might just survive as it comes with a ready-made audience of women who grew up with the Spice Girls, and who may be willing to splash their cash for a nostalgic night out, despite the critics labeling it “scrappy, lazy, cliched, phoney, inept and unfunny”. It’s the latest example of an odd, new musical hybrid - a show built around a band’s hit songs, such as Mamma Mia, We Will Rock You, and our own Proclaimers celebration, Sunshine On Leith.
But as tickets go on sale for New Jersey Nights at the King’s in Glasgow - featuring the songs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, surely we can top that with some cracking Scottish ideas?
Here’s my suggestion to start you thinking - a musical celebration of the late Alex Harvey, spanning his early days in Kinning Park, through skiffle, Dixieland and his Big Soul Band, to The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, whose vaudevillian, theatrical approach to live gigs would make for a brilliant 21st century re-staging. Think of the fun to be had spotting 60-something men in the audience in full white-face Zal Cleminson make-up.
And with songs including Delilah, Boston Tea Party, Next, Sergeant Fury, it’s clear that Vambo Rools beats Viva Forever!
Glasgow’s Scotland Street School Museum is near where Alex Harvey was brought up, and there’s an exhibition running there which is a must for Beatrix Potter fans. Running until February, The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit Exhibition marks the character’s 110th Anniversary, and a new story in the series, written by Emma Thompson. You can look at original artwork, first editions and rarely-seen material from the Beatrix Potter archive, alongside artwork from the new book.
An oasis of calm, and a tranquil alternative to raucous pantos, this wee show is a great excuse to slip away from the seasonal shopping frenzy for an hour or two, although there will be rabbit-related retail opportunities. Add to that the bonus of being in one of the city’s most striking Charles Rennie Mackintosh buildings, and you will be one happy bunny.
Entry is Free, and it’s open from Tuesday to Sunday.
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