The consistently addictive pull of the Adelaide Festival has always been primarily due to its ability to present unusual and intriguing performers who can excite surprise and awe in their audience.
The Lost And Found Orchestra, who performed two shows in Elder Park over the weekend, are a case in point.
Luke Cresswell (the creator of the highly successful percussive dance show, STOMP) and Australian Nigel Jamieson (who, amongst his other achievements, was responsible for putting together the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games) have created a stunning and epic show.
The sheer scale of this performance had to be seen to be believed, and an outdoor venue such as Elder Park was the only place such a show could have been performed as, with so many people involved, it could not have been contained effectively indoors.
Energy exploded from the stage as the musicians were continuously on the move, tightly choreographed and coordinated so that they could play a myriad of found ‘instruments’ in a steadily flowing cavalcade of the discarded detritus of the wasteful West.
We saw and heard strange, but invariably melodious, notes elicited from recycled and retuned shopping trolleys, traffic cones, washing machines, wind-up monkeys playing cymbals, beer bottles, paper bags, empty water cooler bottles, toy hammers with squeakers inside that the players hit each other over the heads with, and many more of the otherwise ignored discards of our everyday lives.
Whilst we may have expected the music such instruments could create to simply have been a cacophony of noise, the use of these sound-making devices actually created a full symphonic experience – intensely rhythmic at some points and at other times, gentle and uplifting.
The performers, who included hundreds of local volunteers moving through the audience ‘playing’ illuminated balloons, cordial bottles filled with rice, water-pistols, and vuvuzelas, were tightly drilled, and the level of co-ordination in this performance was truly incredible.
Utilising the wider spaces of Elder Park was a stylistic master-stroke, bringing the performance into a more interactive realm. The ethereal sounds of underwater percussion coming from the central bandstand at one point, with musicians utilising two large glass water tanks was particularly effective in counterpointing the whirling vuvuzelas that spiralled through the aisles at the same time.
A completely transportative experience, at times Tom Waits-ian, sometimes Philip Glass-like, and always as if you had somehow been drawn into a universe akin to that created in Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s films such as Delicatessen or The City Of Lost Children, the Lost And Found Orchestra captivated with its beauty and its collectively impish sense of humour and inventive ingenuity.
As the final musical piece, complete with a giant onstage choir of local singers, came to its conclusion, the appreciation of the crowd was loud, immediate and sustained.
For one and a half glorious hours, we had all been immersed and mesmerised by this terrific piece of innovative musical performance art.
It was an experience to be savoured and never be forgotten.
The Lost & Found Orchestra performed two shows at Elder Park as part of the 2018 Adelaide Festival on March 3 & 4.
Adelaide Festival tickets are available here: Adelaide Festival tickets