Melbourne Fringe review: Spice! A Singalong
I can’t remember exactly when I first heard the Spice Girls – like many, I was quite young – but I’ve ruled it down to one of two possibilities; either watching Top of the Pops with my Dad (an ex-Brit) or swapping tapes with friends (remember how before we had the internet, we had cassettes, and piracy was calling a radio station, requesting a song, and praying they wouldn’t talk over the opening music?). Suffice to say, though, they were a defining factor of the 90s, ever since they exploded onto the scene with their debut single “Wannabe” in ’96; though I may live to be a hundred, I will never know what a “zigazig ah” is, and why they so desperately wanted it (wait…it’s probably a sex thing, right?).
“Girl Power!” was their cry, and they each represented distinctly different ideas of what it was to be a women. There was wide-eyed innocent Baby (Emma Bunton, who was not quite as naïve as we were lead to believe), tomboy-ish action chick Sporty (Melanie Chisholm), loud, proud and in-your face Ginger (Geri Halliwell), high maintenance fashionista Posh (Victoria Adams, now Beckham), and…I was never really quite sure why they called her Scary (Melanie Brown); possibly, “Frank” Spice sounded like a plumber, or “Not-afraid-to-stand-up-for-what-she-believes-in” Spice is a bit wordy.
Spice! A Singalong which appears for two nights only at Fringe is exactly what it says on the label; think Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Astor, but for 90s girlband nostalgia. Maeve Marsden, Libby Wood, Alison Avron and Sepora performer their way through the entire Spice album (and medley a few hits from Spiceworld) with humour and aplomb, as the aisles fill up with costumed fans dancing to their favourite hits. They are supported by a backup band collectively representing Sporty Spice (“Everyone knows Mel C was the best singer, so…she had to go!”)
Highlights include some 150+ people (on the night I attended) dancing in perfect choreography to “Stop” (there is a dance, and if you ask nicely I will show you), shower the audience with condoms during “2 Become 1”, and a costume contest, ending with a fully formed group from the audience showing off their skills to “If U Can’t Dance”. I also got a giggle out of Wood pointing out on several occasions, given the quite young nature of their audience, more than a few of their lyrics were a little suspect, including the entirety of the song “Naked”.
Spice! A Singalong is definitely one for the fans.
THERE ARE STILL A FEW TICKETS LEFT TO TONIGHT’S (THE 21st) FINAL PERFORMANCE. Spice! A Singalong is at the Lithuanian Club at 7pm. Tickets are $32.