‘You Just Feel Like a Kid Again!’

SCENE interviews Wannabe’s very own Ginger Spice, Natalie Gray, on her experience being an original cast member of the popular stage show

(Image: Red Entertainment)

Spice Girls theatre show Wannabe, which first ran in 2017, is now the longest running Spice Girls stage production in the world. Returning to tour every year, the show is met with rave reviews from audiences, who are encouraged to sing along as if they were at their concert.

Natalie said years on from their first performance, one of her favourite moments of the show is still the opening number, where the group perform the recognisable hit ‘Wannabe’. She says, “You can barely hear yourself singing because everyone’s singing over it and it’s amazing, it’s just such a great feeling.”

Another special moment for her has to be the show’s closing song, which is “a small surprise section” where Natalie gets to sing ‘Raining Men’. She reflects: “It just feels like I’m at Wembley singing my own music, like it’s brilliant, and it just puts a smile on my face. Obviously it’s not a Spice Girls song but it’s a song that, when Geri did release her own album, everyone went wild for so it’s a really great moment.”

Natalie’s ‘real job’, she explains, is a singer-songwriter, often touring with her five-piece orchestra band, she looks forward to the weekends where she gets to “go and pretend to be one of the most iconic girl bands, it’s just kind of a dream come true.”

The audience’s response and participation, where they “scream their songs at you and they’re doing the dances and sitting there in these incredible costumes”, Natalie says, means “you kind of sometimes forget that you’re not actually them,”

“Everyone is always so lovely, we always get people coming up to us at the stage door wanting photos and it’s just a really friendly atmosphere. We get people come in on their own, in hen parties, or birthday parties. It just feels like such a nice atmosphere, which I think at the moment, everyone’s kind of searching for.”

With her background in musical theatre, Natalie enjoys the flexibility of this kind of performance: “With this project, everyone brings their own personality to it which is just so refreshing,” and describes performing with the cast as feeling like “a massive night out”. 

“The show is just so much fun! It feels ridiculous that I can call it a job because I’m on stage with four very good friends of mine, singing Spice Girls songs, dancing, and wearing amazing costumes.”

Preparing for and performing the show is made even more special by those that work behind the scenes. Natalie praises the costume department, who have “just smashed it out of the park”, creating an environment where “there’s no insecurities on stage, everyone’s supporting everyone else. It’s such a kind of empowering and ‘Girl Power’ atmosphere that is just so fun to be a part of.”

Natalie also appreciates the dedication and talent of their choreographer, Becky Jeffery, who takes “old school 90s choreo” and puts “her twist on it”. One dance that always remains untouched, however, is “the iconic ‘Stop dance.’”

Natalie says the biggest challenge that she has found working on the show so far is the pressure, “as a Spice Girls fan,” to “make sure you’re doing it justice and giving the audience this experience of reliving your 90s childhood.” Natalie asks herself “what would Geri do,” when wondering whether to “push it a little but further,” or “go somewhere else with it”. However, she goes on, “I say challenges but to be honest, I’m obsessed with the Spice Girls so it just feels like second nature to me.”

Reminiscing on the success of the show so far, Natalie says “We’ve had such an incredible response. From day one, people just wanted to support it. It really showed that Girl Power is still really strong, and people my age, who grew up with the Spice Girls, we lived this. And, I don’t know about anyone else, but the second I put on a Spice Girls song, you’re just instantly taken back to like blue eyeshadow, ridiculous clothes, hair with the two little strands at the front, and you just feel like a kid again.”

Wannabe comes to York’s Grand Opera House on the 20th of June for one night only.