3.5K – The Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2016 – Starman – Sven Ratzke – The Space Theatre – 3.5K

By Tom Eckert




Sven Ratzke, a Dutch man performing the work of Bowie inhabits the Space Theatre like a moody wolf prowling the stage (and occasionally the auditorium). He owns the space he occupies and does so it the most flashy of ways.
This man has a reservedly rich voice comfortable in all registers that belies the power, agility and sensitivity behind it. There is a strength there that gives the impression that it would be equally comfortable singing classical arias as he is the recitative of the opening bars of Space Oddity. With a flair for costuming and holding an audience, Ratzke does not miss a beat and in fact barely pauses for breathe throughout the show.

His back up band more than match him for ability with delicate instrumental arrangements of Bowie’s classics executed with admirably precision. In addition, the synth effects are utilised to exceptional effect to recreate those sounds so idiosyncratic to the original tracks.

An often underutilised element, the technical stage work also added a great deal to the experience. With  an extensive lighting rig used to phenomenal effect to truly modulate the emotive landscape throughout the piece as well as adding a deal of gravitas to songs.

An unfortunate detractor  from the show is Ratzke’s banter between tunes. His camp comedy style, whilst at times very entertaining, leans a little too heavily towards slapstick which ultimately takes away from the shine of the musicianship and the musical dignity of the homage to a recently passed talent that the show makes out to be.

A strong performer who loses out a little to cheap jokes and easy laughs.

Kryztoff rating : 3.5K

Leave a Reply