REVIEW: The Triplets of Belleville at the Adelaide Festival

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For the first time in Adelaide, and only the second time in Australia (having been performed at the Melbourne Festival in 2016), Benoît Charest and Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville reproduced the music from the film “Les Triplettes de Belleville » live while the film was shown on a large screen.


Benoît Charest won a César for Best music written for a film for the film’s score in 2004.  The score was also nominated for an Oscar. The song “Belleville rendez-vous” won the Grammy Award for Best Music written for film, television or other visual media in 2005. Benoît Charest also won at the Etoiles d’Or for best composer of original music.


In a film which does not have much dialogue, the music and sounds take its place. On stage at the Adelaide Town Hall for the Adelaide Festival. Benoît plays guitar all the while conducting his orchestra. Before the film is projected, Benoît introduces us to his orchestra. He tells us that Daniel Thouin, who was playing the keyboard and accordion in the show, “is playing all that stuff” pointing to the keyboard in front of him. The majority of the musicians who make up the Orchestre Terrible de Belleville are Canadians or francophones except for Bryan Head from Los Angeles on drums.


Listening and hearing the music and sounds live while the film is projected on the large screen gave another dimension to the film. It gave life to an animated film. Sometimes, we wanted to see how the musicians were reproducing the film’s sounds, and as such watched them on stage. Other times, we were so immersed in the film that we completely forgot the orchestra was there.



However, we all lowered our eyes from the screen to the stage when these men stomped their feet on stage while the women in the movie, the Triplets of Belleville, did the same on the big screen. The scene in which the triplets create music with a newspaper and a vacuum cleaner amused the audience to see the musicians doing the exact same thing on stage to create the sound of the character’s actions on-screen.


Arriving in the theatre, many people remarked “there’s a bike on stage!” Seeing the bike spokes played like violin strings was impressive. Later on the tire and the spokes served as percussion.


It was obvious that the musicians were having fun playing the music. They were all smiling. They really looked like they were enjoying themselves, as did the audience who watched them.


There’s only one show of “The Triplets of Belleville” which is tonight, 15 March at 8:30pm at the Adelaide Town Hall. Tickets:   


Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of the Adelaide Festival.

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