28 Divine Comedies Later

Cillian Murphy guests at Neil Hannon gig

by empire |
Published on

You go to a concert these days, and you never know quite what you're going to get. So there was Empire, enjoying our God seats view of the magnificent Divine Comedy in concert at the London Palladium last night, when who should amble on stage to augment proceedings, but 28 Days Later star, Cillian Murphy. Luckily, the Irish actor wasn't there to trigger a plague epidemic, but to join Divine Comedy's singer-songwriter-everything-but-changing-the-lightbulbs, Neil Hannon, on a rendition of one of the DC's lesser-known songs, The Booklovers. Tucked away on the band's second album, Promenade, the song normally constitutes a succession of authors' names read aloud over a typically beautiful Divine Comedy orchestral track. But at last night's concert, Hannon was determined to ring the changes. "That was a pretension too far, even for me," he quipped, before declaring that every night on the band's current tour, he would be enlisting a different celebrity to come on stage and read from their favourite book, while the DC - backed by the Millennia Ensemble - played the song. How that's less pretentious than the norm escapes us, for the moment. Still, with plenty of celebs in the packed audience, including Paul Merton and Dermot O'Leary, Hannon - a self-confessed film buff; The Happy Goth, one of the songs on his new album, Absent Friends, contains a reference to 'the snows of Hoth' - had plenty of choice. But he plumped for "an actor friend of mine", and on ambled a bemused-looking Murphy. Up struck the orchestra, and Hannon's pal read several passages from The Ginger Man, by J.P. Donleavy, to several cheers from the audience's Irish contingent. Upon song's end, he was given a huge ovation, and off he popped, before Empire could shout any questions about his role as Jonathan Crane in the currently-filming Batman Begins. Still, with the Divine Comedy still playing dates across the country - check www.thedivinecomedy.com for details - why not pop along? You never know who might turn up next...

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