The Spice Girls inspire two playwrights to write a 90s themed musical
PUBLISHED: 08:00 08 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:43 12 December 2016
The creators of comedy musical 2 Become 1 based on tunes of 90s female pop stars talk to ZOE PASKETT about the Spice Girls and selling out at Edinburgh Fringe
“I was always Sporty,” says Kerrie.
“Yeah, I was Sporty, and if my friend won the battle I’d be Posh,” says Natasha. “Nobody ever wanted to be Posh and now I absolutely love Posh!”
“When we were younger, you probably didn’t get her dryness and her jokes, and now you watch things like the Spice movie and she’s the best one. When you’re younger everyone wanted to be Baby, but you can only be Baby if you’re blonde.”
Kerrie Thomason and Natasha Granger are having a conversation that many women who were born or grew up in the nineties will understand.
So much hung on the decision of which Spice Girl you identified with. It determined what you wore and where you stood when learning the choreography to all the songs.
Actors, playwrights and co-founders of Swipe Right Theatre, Kerrie and Natasha, are taking us back to the days of singing into hairbrushes and dancing around the living room with comedy musical, 2 Become 1.
“The Spice Girls were amazing and a huge inspiration,” Natasha says. “They brought something completely new for girls.”
2 Become 1 is about more than pop stars, though the soundtrack is heaving with favourites: All Saints, B*Witched, Britney and Christina.
“It was a time when strong bonds between female friends were actively celebrated and this is our tribute to that,” says Kerrie.
“We’ve got some quite stereotypical stock characters,” adds Natasha. “We’re making fun of the shallowness of the time. There were all these sitcoms with the funny one, the stupid one, the married one. We’ve done this to make fun of it all.”
2 Become 1 is the story of Jess, a young woman who has just been dumped by her “perfect” man. Her friends, sick of her excessive ice cream consumption and sobbing, take her out speed dating to get her back on the proverbial horse.
“Now we’re in a time when everything’s on our screen,” says Natasha. “We’ve got Tinder, Bumble, all these apps and online dating obviously. It’s a throwback to a simpler time when people actually met face to face. Speed dating was a new thing, almost the Tinder of its time.”
Now showing at the King’s Head, the play was a raging success at Edinburgh Fringe, returning for a second year due to popular demand.
“Our first run was sold out and shows would sell out days before the performances which I thought was quite unheard of,” Kerrie says. “We were expecting it to be just people our age, in their 20s and 30s but in our first year most of our clientele were elderly American couples!”
“It does appeal to older people, which we never expected it to,” says Natasha. “It’s a fun story and even if it’s not the music of your time, you might have had kids who listened to it. It’s music you recognise. I think it appeals to people of any age really.”
“Not kids though…” Kerrie chimes in. “It’s definitely not for kids.”
The cast, which also includes Jessica Brady and Eliza Hewitt-Jones, has a range of stage experience between them, ranging from Hamlet and Wuthering Heights to The Addams Family and Tim Key’s Single White Slut.
Kerrie and Natasha became friends while studying creative arts and musical theatre in Blackpool, later founding
Swipe Right Theatre together
and writing this, their first
“It’s nice to have someone who pushes you,” says Natasha. “It’s good to have someone with different strengths. I think I would chicken out a lot of the time!”
Recalling their first ever performance of 2 Become 1, she adds: “That was the most terrifying moment. We didn’t know if it was funny, because we directed it ourselves. You have no idea until the first audience’s reactions.”
Fast forward nearly two years and they know it inside out and back to front, even adding a new song in for the Christmas run to give it a more festive feel.
The two are grateful for their relationship with the King’s Head Theatre.
“They told us ‘the show is yours, we’ll just help you along,’ which I think is really good of them,” says Kerrie. “They said ‘you can do what you want with it, we’ll just cradle you along. We want to be cradled!”
2 Become 1 runs until January 7 at the King’s Head Theatre in Upper Street. For information on show times and tickets: kingsheadtheatre.co.uk.