LOST AND FOUND ORCHESTRA Royal Festival Hall, London ****
Christmas is when the Southbank Centre rediscovers its raison d'tre: this year, the foyer features a giant "melting igloo" in which films about Arctic explorers are screened, while the stage of the Festival Hall is festooned with instruments of a sort never seen there before: giant marimbas and xylophones of wood, plastic, glass; oil cans, rubbish bins and builders' chutes; bellows, thunder- machines, and every kind of drum. Three old-style Hoovers sit centre- stage.
Enter a man with a double-bass case, followed by four more: gingerly at first, then with increasing vehemence, they rub and slap their cases, building up a mean and catchy rhythm. It's comic in a subfusc way, reminiscent of a Deep South oompah band caught on scratchy vinyl. It's also vintage Stomp, the begetters of the show, who are here after conquering Sydney Opera House.
When the rubbing and slapping is over, a tiny man emerges from one case toting a truncheon-like piece of tubing, and is joined by others similarly armed. Cue a burst of polyphony as they hammer the floor. They are followed by men with hosepipe saxes who blow a lugubrious tune. So far, …