Fringe preview: Sven Ratzke channels Bowie in Starman

SVEN Ratzke is the Starman at the Palais Du Variete, George Square Gardens, this Fringe.
SVEN Ratzke is the Starman at the Palais Du Variete, George Square Gardens, this Fringe.
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SVEN Ratzke, the international star of the original Berlin production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Ratzke pays homage to David Bowie in Starman. A one-man rock musical, Starman combines many of the Thin White Duke’s hits with classic album tracks and original songs by Ratzke and Rachelle Garniez, all inspired by Bowie.

We asked him to pick his Top 5 Bowie classics.

REBEL REBEL

WITH the wild red hair, eye-patch, tight pants and high heels boots... are you a boy or a girl?

This song is a revolution - be whoever you want to be. Be a rebel, be yourself, express yourself and celebrate. It’s a love song. When I sing it people sway and sing along.

ASHES TO ASHES

‘What a weird song,’ I thought when I was a teenager. It was a complete riddle. That strange clown in the desert. All the people who followed him made it even more complex.

But as I got older and dived more into the world of Bowie I recognised the genius. He relates to a character from the past, his brother, who committed suicide, and to his own drug abuse and fear of going mad.

Many say Bowie never told us anything about himself in his songs. They are very wrong.

Just listen very carefully. Bowie tells us so much about himself through his song writing.

LADY GRINNING SOUL

NOT well known, but I love it. Here you see that Bowie was a theatre maker. He created three-minutes plays.

This one is about a fatal love. A woman that is trouble messes with his mind.

In Starman we take the audience on a trip around the world. We start on this ship that leaves London and goes all the way to New York. One morning the ship is completely abandoned. There are icebergs. The sea has turned to sand... and at the ship’s bow is a beautiful woman with long red hair and deep blue dress.

She’s trouble, but you just can’t resist.

LIFE ON MARS

“SAILORS fighting in the dance hall. Oh man. Look at those cavemen go. It’s the freakiest show.”

This song is like a mini-musical. Bowie wanted to make musicals for a while. Well, this takes you right from Broadway to another planet. It’s intriguing and beautifully composed. What is it about? You figure it out.

HEROES

THERE’S a lovely story about the writing and recording of Heroes. Brian Eno needed a break so he went outside while Bowie stayed in the studio, in Berlin.

After a while, he looked out the window, there was Eno standing with his girlfriend in his arms, at the Berlin wall, kissing. Bowie wrote that down and they finished the song that evening. And what a song, so many layers.

People all over the world can relate to this song and often come up to me after the show to say they were moved. I love the power of this song.

Starman, Palais Du Variete, George Square, until August 28, 8.45pm, £16, 0131-226 0000