Managing to successfully evoke the atmosphere of the animated original, FellSwoop’s production of Belleville Rendez-vous gains an extra dimension in this enjoyable and accomplished live performance.
With few words (beyond a self-aware segment translated by a narrator from French to English), the cast use a combination of mime, puppetry and physical theatre to tell the tale of Champion, who mysteriously disappears in the shady city of Belleville. Aided by a canine companion and the aging Belleville Sisters, his grandmother follows the tracks of his bicycle to find him and bring him home.
Belleville Rendez-vous has a junkyard vaudeville tone, with live music provided by a trio of accomplished performers to the side of the stage as the face-painted actors play out the tale. Expressive and comic, their performances are uniformly charming, taking the modern fable of the original and using their impressive skills to bring it to life.
Cleverly staged and directed, Belleville Rendez-vous is an inspired adaptation of the movie – and to its credit, is even more spirited and animated than the original.
Belleville Rendez-vous runs until Aug 20 at Bedlam Theatre at 11:00. More details here.