Why this gig?
I hadn’t heard of Four Play until last year. Then they did a show with Neil Gaiman where they provided musical backing as he read one of his stories.
And tonight they’re returning the favour by inviting him to join them at one of their shows.
We’re in a bit of a hazy area here. Is this a gig or a literary event? I didn’t review the previous show on this site because the emphasis that night was on the readings. Tonight this is a Four Play show (“with special guest, Neil Gaiman”) so I guess that makes it a gig – and, hence, suitable for a review here.
There’s no support, just two sets with a break inbetween.
Four Play start by playing the Doctor Who theme. They did that the last time I saw them too. I suspect this is Neil Gaiman’s influence.
I don’t listen to string quartets often. I’m not particularly keen on the style of music that most of them play. Four Play’s music is far more interesting, but I’m still not convinced that I’d bother if it wasn’t for the Neil Gaiman connection.
After playing half a dozen or so tracks, they introduce Neil and he reads a few stories and poems with their accompaniment. Last time, the main work was “The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains” which takes about forty-five minutes to perform. This time it’s a few shorter pieces.
After the break, Neil returns on his own to read a couple more stories unaccompanied before For Play join him again. They reveal that they have been working on some new material together and this includes a piece about umbrellas that they play.
Seeing Gaiman read his work with a live musical accompaniment really adds another layer to the stories and poems. I highly recommend seeing them performing together. And next time Four Play are in London I plan to see them again – whether or not Neil Gaiman is with them.