There was a time when the best way to flatter a band or singer was to assemble their best moments onto a greatest hits compilation. These often gatefold double-albums came with a real sense of occasion - they would be eagerly anticipated and, once released, coveted by all those who couldn't afford them.
Formats have now, of course, evolved into the limitless portability of the MP3 file. With every music fan with a hard disc now able to assemble their own greatest hits collections whenever they feel like it, the latest way to worship an artist's back catalogue is to line up all their songs and package them in a West End theatre.
And so it goes with those Wannabe ambassadors of 'girl power', the Spice Girls. Because nothing says post-modern feminist more than a very short Union Jack dress. Not that Viva Forever! would appear to have any agenda other than to provide a lively, sing-along environment in which to soak up expert West End renditions of some of the most memorable pop songs of the last two decades. You can watch the launch video above.
The story, not itself the tale of the band, is about "a young girl trying out for an X Factor-style reality show" and "will stay true to the Spice Girls theme of girl power." So that's good. With Jennifer Saunders as writer and Mamma Mia!'s Judy Craymer producing, Viva Forever! looks set fair to do well. You also have to wonder if Craymer insisted on that exclamation mark. Maybe it's the secret to her success!
The show, which promises to include all the girls' most famous hits, previews at the Piccadilly Theatre from 27th November, opening fully on 12th December and now booking until June 2013. We have tickets available now, priced from £35 for previews and from £45 for performances from 12th December.