Happy New Year! Hope that everyone is well and hopefully you got to take in some theatre over the Christmas break. Everyone I have spoken to seems to have seen Blithe Spirit - the regularly performed Noel Coward classic, currently packing them in at the Royal Exchange. 

On 23rd Dec I jetted off to San Francisco and as always - I try to take in some theatre whilst holidaying. Last year I found Las Vegas full of shows I had already seen such as Mamma Mia!, The Jersey Boys and Stomp. I ended up being wowed by the Vegas Phantom and several gigs, including the divine Ms M. But in previous years in SF - I have not been so lucky - having suffered through the awful Lestat one year and a low rent rom com, (whose name escapes me) the next.

So I scoured the local press and what did I find? A Christmas Carol which is there every year and having experienced Scrooge in 3D, 2D, numerous film versions and several plays and musicals, I decided to give him the old Bah Humbug! What was left? Well, The 39 Steps at $80 a ticket and Riverdance again! As both of these are coming back to Manchester - I wisely decided against them.

I settled for a fringe production of Beautiful Thing as I thought that you cannot really go wrong with this classic play as the dialogue is incredibly sharp and poignant. But the all American cast had such a dazzling array of 'comedy' Brit accents that I could not concentrate! They were all Dick Van Dyke meets Graham Norton via Captain Pugwash. It was as horrendous as it sounds. This put me off seeing another play at this nameless theatre.

So, off I went to see Nine at the cinema and if you have seen it yourself - you may have left the cinema dumb-founded at Rob Marshall's fear of the musical genre. Great song and dance numbers are cut off in their prime for soap opera style musings by the lead character. It looks good and each song is sung very well with standout turns from Penelope Cruz, Fergie and Marion Cotillard. But it is muddled and annoying to watch because of the fear factor. Embrace the musical Rob, don't water it down! I did catch a wonderful film though called Precious which was a stunning drama full of heartstopping moments and the brilliant black comedy Up In The Air with a career-best performance form George Clooney.

I had a great holiday but may have to kick the theatre habit when on my hols as you cannot even rely on a movie musical to keep you whistling along. So, to the flicks it is then!