It was one of the most anticipated musicals to open in the West End with music from the Spice Girls, the pen of Jennifer Saunders and the guidance of Mamma Mia maestro Judy Craymer assembled to storm the box office. But in one of the biggest theatre flops in recent years, Viva Forever! is set to say Goodbye next month with its final performance taking place at the Piccadilly Theatre on 29 June.
The move confirms growing rumours that the musical had never recovered from the widespread lambasting it received on its opening night, when the Guardian stated the songs were “murdered” while the Telegraph labelled it “ugly in every respect”. And it turns out the recent re-write of the script has failed to reverse the tide of disappointing audience figures as the show is now losing Too Much money to stay open.
In a joint statement released earlier today the band confirmed the decision to axe the production: “Although Viva Forever! won’t continue in the West End, we are thrilled that the thousands of people who came to the show had as much fun as they did.”
Craymer – who was unable to follow up the enormous success of her Abba musical, Mamma Mia! – said, “Despite wonderful audiences, standing ovations and positive social media it has proved very difficult to fight back when such negativity was cast, especially in these very tough economic times.
“The show has evolved since we first opened and is now brighter, lighter and funnier, but despite the wonderful audiences and extremely positive feedback we just can’t make it work.
“These days you have to be fearless to produce a new musical, something that is not a revival, a film or a tribute show but something that is really original.”