Orange Tea Theatre
TOON, Amsterdam Fringe Festival, 7 September 2016
A mouthful of a title, but a simple and engaging premise. Monsieur Le Noir, the performance and conceptual artist everyone has come to see, is missing, so management have coerced his musical accompanist to step in and deliver the show. Enter Martha, his loyal assistant and one time muse, desperately playing the trumpet while attempting to replicate Le Noir’s monument of concrete blocks. As she becomes more comfortable with her audience, it dawns that this is the opportunity that she’s been waiting for to get it all off her chest. And then the fun really starts; Martha unravels and the truth spills out.
Over the course of an hour Martha shares the ups and downs of her relationship with the missing Le Noir, her status as a maturing female performer, and hilariously critiques contemporary art. I won’t give too much away, but you’ll never look at concrete mix the same way again.
Loveday Smith’s performance is captivating, riding a wave of desperation to exuberance. Smith, a British actor and musician wrote the piece, inspired by her experiences in the world of conceptual and performance art, working first at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum interpreting works for Tino Sehgal; then collaborating with Michael Portnoy on the critically acclaimed “Relational Stalinism: The Musical” at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. She is ably directed by Sam Morris, co-founder of Orange Tea Theatre in Amsterdam who also makes a small but critical appearance in the show.
I hope Orange Tea Theatre finds more dates for this show, it deserves a longer run. If it comes your way, don’t hesitate to catch it.