The Rocky Horror Show at MuseumsQuartier

By Rebecca Musgrave

Corsets, transvestites and ray guns. It can only mean one thing – The Rocky Horror Show is back in Vienna. Richard O’Brien’s iconic musical in all its grotesque glory is currently being performed in the MuseumsQuartier and over 38 years after it was first staged in London, appears to still be attracting hordes of costume clad, loyal fans.

Originally developed as a rock musical in the early 1970s, the Rocky Horror Show spectacle in Vienna indeed has more of the feel of a rock concert than a musical. Lighters in the air, heckling and amorous screams of appreciation have long been the distinguishing feature of many Rocky Horror Show performances and the audience in Vienna were no exception in providing just that.

The cult musical’s dark humour and glittering eccentricity ring out from Sam Buntrock’s production. I challenge even the most apathetic Rocky Horror spectator to be able to stifle a giggle as Dr. Frank N. Furter cavorts around the stage in high heels and lingerie.

The Rocky Horror Show tells of the adventures of the engaged Brad and Janet (Jon Hawkins and Daisy Wood-Davis). After the car of the sickly sweet, virginal pair breaks down in the middle of a storm, they find themselves in the lewd world of Frankenstein Place. From hence forth they spend the majority of the performance in their underwear consorting with the castles more unusual inhabitants in a seemingly parallel universe of sexual and scientific experimentation.

The sensory impact of the Vienna production is almost as mesmerising as the bizarre content itself. The five piece band blast out “Time Warp” and “Sweet Transvestite” as the lasers and psychedelic stage lighting compliment the final act’s array of colourful corsets and suspenders – technology truly befitting the musical’s futuristic content.  And for those of a more sensitive disposition, fear not. As erotic as the original screenplay may be, the more risqué scenes are conducted tastefully and amusingly behind a curtain, revealing just the shadows of the romping couples.

The charm of the glam rock musical has almost always been its steadfast and enthusiastic following that make audience participation at both screenings and performances of the Rocky Horror Show virtually compulsory. For this very reason I would urge any potential theatre goers to purchase the goody bag prior to the show. If cross-dressing seems like a step too far on your mid-week theatre trip, the various props contained in the bag such as confetti, water pistols, party hats and glow sticks will keep you fully involved throughout the spectacle.

By the end of the performance at the MuseumsQuartier the entire audience was on their feet with fans, young and old, singing and dancing. Almost three years since the Rocky Horror Show’s last performance in Austria, it is undoubtedly time to do the “Time Warp” again.

The final performance of the musical is on 18 December 2011.

For more information on the musical and to purchase tickets visit: