Sven Ratzke – Starman

Sven Ratzke’s Starman – a sold-out success at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival – is a powder keg of energy and enthusiasm, primed to explode! The show heroes the music of the late, great David Bowie, but it is so, so much more than a tribute show.

Sven Ratzke, Starman, Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2016, Photo by Denis Veldman
Sven Ratzke, Starman, Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2016, Photo by Denis Veldman

Starman is a transporter through time and space. One moment we’re in Berlin, then Hollywood; we’re meeting Andy Warhol, or in Elizabeth Taylor’s wax museum; we’re in the stars or crossing the galaxy. Starman takes us anywhere and everywhere in 70 minutes, and where do we end up? I have no idea!

The surreal nature of Starman allows the audience to give in to Ratzke’s enthusiasm: sit back and enjoy the ride.

Sven Ratzke commands the stage, and the auditorium, in his glam costume and killer boots. While lacking some of the pizazz of Bowie’s threads, and a little under in the vocal department, Ratzke’s performance is punctuated by his quick wit and marvelously convoluted narratives.

The three-piece band – bass, drums and keys – created an immense amount of quality music. It is hard to believe that the complex soundscapes created could possibly have been the function of only three musicians. The addition of an electric guitar in a few numbers would have taken the music to the next level.

Ratzke’s audience interaction was effortless, and a perfect foil for the rollicking musical numbers. ‘Life on Mars’ and ‘Heroes’ were wonderfully executed, but the standout number was the combination of expert lighting effects, pared-back musical arrangement and vocal serenity of ‘Space Oddity’: the song we were there to hear!

It is not surprising that Starman has a sold out schedule. Every year I wish for just another week of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival – this year, I want to see more Sven!


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