Confessions, personal insights, on-stage proposals and audience participation all made for an entertaining evening with Mel B at the Leeds Grand. These days, with three daughters and a considerable amount of personable baggage to grapple with, Scary Spice is a lot less scary but as you can see, she is sticking with the trademark animal print for this latest venture.
This was the first leg of ‘Brutally honest and fabulous’, and I guess if you’re going to be brutally honest then it’s good to start in your home town among friends. Certainly there was a really warm response coming back from the audience as the evening unfolded and you kind of got the impression that at this point in her life, Mel needs to feel that kind of love in the room. The show was hosted by Mel’s official biographer, Louise Gannon, and as you’d expect the conversation was open and straight-talking. There was plenty to say, not least in relation to Mel’s ten year marriage to a husband who appears to fit the classic mould of ‘coercive control’.
Up in the balcony I was joined by one other photographer and press lady Margaret and we had a brilliant view of all the on-stage antics. Audience members were invited to join Mel on the Union Jack sofa to ask questions. One person got into the area of same sex relationships and then invited her partner up so she could pop the question. It’s always a relief in those situations when the answers yes! Mel’s family added more colour to the life story and Mel was able to share how she’d been affected by her dad’s death. Even her Yorkshire Terrier Cookie did his bit…and his business, having a wee on his training mat. There was audience participation in a Spice Girls routine and large, ball mics thrown around the audience enabled a further, random QA.
As we left I overheard one person reflecting “Well she didn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know…” But clearly people did enjoy the evening and it’s one thing to get the gossip from the tabloids and the chat mags and quite another to hear the whole story from the real life person behind the headlines. I headed back to sort the pictures, many of which ended up in the Mail Online. Great publicity for Mel B and for the next show at the London Savoy where I hope the welcome will have been just as warm.