This week I discovered a (for me) new, but actually quite old, performance and supper venue in Vienna´s 20th district. The Vindobona on Wallensteinplatz near U4 Friedensbrücke is a multifunctional theater hall that offers a wide range of both in-house productions and guest theatre or musical performances, concerts, readings, varieté, burlesque and travesty shows, cabaret, etc. I found out about it because of an announcement of the new improv show “Plötzlich Premiere” by Jim Libby, whom I know and appreciate from the hilarious English Lovers. This time Jim was performing with a stellar group of German-language improv actors.
I brought my camera along and captured some of the raucous show. The great thing about improv is that you can go as often as you want, and you will never know what is going to happen. The format is familiar, but the lines and sketches are always new, and always bring tears of laughter to my eyes. I never get tired of it.
Das Vindobona has quite a long theatrical history. Founded in 1919 as a cinema in what was then a Viennese suburb, it operated until 1976. After a two year hiatus, from 1978 to 1988 the Pupodrom theatre group performed there, renaming the venue to Serapion Theatre. From 1988 onwards the cabaret “Vindobona” (or in popular lingo “Vindo”) opened in the building on Wallensteinplatz, becoming one of the most important Austrian cabaret venues until its closure in 2006. Such venues can be hard to maintain, but after three years without performances, 2009 Albert Schmidleitner, the operator of the cabaret Simpl at the time, reopened the Vindobona and managed it for more than 10 years.
Finally in 2020, the theatre reopened, next to the restaurant by the same name, now under new management. And here we are. One can enjoy performances while sipping a drink (I had a mojito!) or enjoying dinner from the a la carte menu. Have any of you seen the Turkish series Kulüp (The Club)? (If not, also something for your watch list.) That is what the atmosphere here kind of reminded me of, luckily without the backstabbing drama.
Das Vindobona now has a full programme of performances and shows scheduled, many of which I am tempted to go see despite for me a bit of a long trip there (well, Vienna public transport is so good, but it still takes me about 45 minutes to get there from my district).
Jimm Libby is on again (in German!) on 25 April, together with Anne Rab, Ursula Anna Baumgartner, Jürgen Kapaun, all brilliant improv actors, and featuring the legendary Belush Korenyi at the piano. If you want a – literally – unrepeatable evening, I recommend booking your tickets. But if you cannot make this one, there are more opportunities, this is going to be a regular event, hopefully.
Cheers to that!
All photos © Karin Svadlenak-Gomez
P.S. I have to say it – “free advertising”, I am not getting paid by anybody to write this.