Theatrical end to the year

December 31, 2009 at 19:21 (1)

Bas and I had pretty much a full day of theatre on Wednesday. In the morning we went and did a bit of shopping to prepare for our New Year’s Eve party (this will be the third year in a row that we’ve held one in our London flat). Then we went to see a new revival of the musical Sweet Charity at the Menier Chocolate Factory. The show is packed with great songs (“Hey Big Spender”, “If My Friends Could See Me Now”, “Rhythm of Life”), and the cast were top-notch. The venue is great too — a reclaimed chocolate factory, very small and intimate. This was out first time seeing a proper show there (we saw a Broadway spoof a few months back) and I was hugely impressed by how much they managed to cram into so tight a space. It won’t surprise me if this show transfers to the West End like some of their other big hits of recent years…

We went straight from the Chocolate Factory to the Novello Theatre to see another revival, this time of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. This was a much darker play, brilliantly staged and acted. It ran for just over 3 hours, but even though I was tired from the first play, my attention never sagged. In a superlative cast, the big box office draw was the appearance of James Earl Jones, and he didn’t disappoint — he was absolutely magnificent, in a role that seemed tailor-made for him. He’s almost 79 years old, but you wouldn’t have guessed that from his performance — he had all the vigous of a man at least 20 years younger. It was a privilege to watch him in action, particularly in such a strong play, surrounded by other, equally powerful actors. A splendid theatrical end to the year!!!

Today we went to see Avatar at the London BFI Imax. It certainly looks amazing, more than justifying the hype on that front, but the script could have done with quite a lot more work in my humble opinion — the story felt a bit flat and predictable, with characters you couldn’t really care too much about. It moved along briskly, despite its long running time, but while it may make a big technical impact on the film industry, I don’t think it’s going to join the ranks of other beloved James Cameron films, such as the first two Terminator flicks, Titanic and my personal fave, Aliens. In fact, I think a comparison with Aliens shows why this one doesn’t work quite as well as it should have — that was a bold, in-yer-face movie, not afraid to be brutal and bloody. Even Titanic was a brave movie, featuring nude scenes which are not the norm in family-friendly films of this type. On Avator, unfortunately, Cameron has played it safe, perhaps a bit too conscious for once of the cost of the movie and the merchandising opportunities. If it had been a bit grittier, it might have been a whole lot more fun.

Anyway, enough moaning from me!! I’m off to get ready for our New Year’s Eve party and to cap it with the fireworks display off the London Eye. I hope you all enjoy a great end to the year, and that 2010 holds only wonderful and magical surprises in store. Take care, Shansters, party safely, and have a fab one!!!!


  1. Sarah McGovern said,

    Wishing a Happy New Year to yourself and the lady Bas and all the best for 2010

    *raises a glass* Cheers and here’s to the next decade, hopefully full of your excellent books ^_^

  2. Miruna said,

    Wishing you and your family a happy New Year!!

  3. Rajdeep Dhadwal said,

    Happy New Year!

  4. Ivor Bolton said,

    Happy New Year, Darren & Bas !
    Have a great party !!


  5. Jared said,

    Happy new year to you today and every day for the whole day!

  6. Robbie said,

    Happy new year and new decade of 2010 Darren Shan! Thank you very much for writing this blog, helping to inform me very much so over 2009. May this year be even a better one for you and your readers with City of the Snakes, The Thin Executioner, volumes 4-6 of The Saga Of Darren Shan manga and the beginning of your four book Mister Crepsley series- please keep up what I view as good work by writing more soon please!!!

  7. Someone25 said,

    Have a happy new year darren πŸ˜€

    Cant wait till you tour the East Midlands

  8. tyla said,


  9. Miley said,

    Happy new year darren – and a new decade! I hope you, your family, and your friends had a happy new year. Overall, I hope you have a very happy and healthy new year!!!!!! πŸ˜€

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