Review: Sven Ratzke: Homme Fatale at Assembly Hall

Cast all thoughts of what this show may be like aside before entering the weird world of Sven Ratzke’s offbeat surrealist cabaret. It will be like nothing you’ve seen, that much is a guaranteed.

The show begins with an eccentric entrance as Ratzke takes to the stage dressed as a glittering Phantom of the Opera-esque character. He begins the show with a punchy number, teamed with some flourishes and flounces that seem a little dated in 2018. It’s clear that his audience is looking for classic cabaret, jokes and well-known songs. What follows this extravagant opening is a tapestry of bizarre fiction that leads in to an utterly perplexing set list of songs, which leave most of the crowd confused and some racing to the nearest exit.

If you are looking for dimly lit cabaret tables and a tame evening of entertainment, this show is not for you. This show is unashamedly something else entirely. Ratzke’s unconventional storytelling style jumps around Europe, teaming surreal tales with plenty of sexual innuendo and gyrating. The band, with special mention to Christian Pabst on grand piano and keys, were arguably one of the best parts of the show. All the colour of this show was heightened by these three fantastic musicians. Ratzke’s vocals were strong and the power of his voice was undeniable however, the band and Ratzke were a little mismatched. A times, it felt as though they would be better suited to two separate shows altogether, with the band stealing glances as the show teetered into a rather odd finale.

The music in this show is the real selling point. There is no doubt that Ratzke is talented and his audience interaction is clever and cool, but not all of the stories worked, although 

More of this, with  honest, true to life storytelling would have made this cabaret a true showstopper. This show is winner for those with an open mind and a penchant for the surreal.

Sven Ratzke, Homme Fatale, Assembly Hall, 16-26 Aug (not 20), 6pm  

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