Hai si ja hold tight! ‘Wannabe’, a Spice Girls tribute show showing at Assembly Rooms this Fringe, is a fast-paced and energetic love letter to everyone’s favourite girl band. While maybe not the most story-focused show at this year’s Fringe, it never promises to make you think deeply – rather, it takes you on a musical tour of the story of the Spice Girls, with all the girl-power attitude and amazing costumes to match.
I will say this, this show is best seen with a friend (or friends), and probably after having had a few drinks. That’s not to say that you need to drink to get through it, but the majority of the audience crowded around the bar before being let into the venue, and most were in large groups, dressed up to the nines. The show is during a late slot, so there is plenty of room in the venue to stand up and dance in the aisles, as we are encouraged to do.
The women portraying the girl band – Natalie Gray as Ginger, Rhiannon Porter as Sporty, Lucy Palmer as Baby, Gabbie Smith as Scary, and Melissa Potts as Posh – are all incredibly talented, with Porter in particular standing out vocally. They are accompanied by their Spice Boys – two male performers who do an incredible amount of dancing during the show.
The set is simple, but impressive: large, human-sized glowing letters that spell ‘SPICE’, and the lighting is incredible. The costumes, as well, are worth noting. They are true to the original band’s look, with the occasional sexy or sultry twist depending on the song. The show not only covers Spice Girls songs, but also the girls’ respective solo singles, and is interwoven with audio reels of news from their debut album to their breakup to their reunion.
Audience interaction is the name of the game here. If you don’t stand up and sing along, you look silly. You simply must scream encouragement when your favourite’s name is called (mine is Baby Spice), you simply must do the choreography to ‘Spice Up Ur Life’, you simply must whoop and cheer when Ginger Spice comes out in her iconic Union Jack dress. While I wasn’t old enough to be into the Spice Girls as a child, ‘Wannabe’ is a lovely reminder of how incredible it must have been to be a young girl growing up when they were in their prime. Girl power is not forgotten here.