Bandmates, and supposed siblings, Otto and Astrid Dot are back and are sharing songs from their new album which features the usual Die Roten Punkte brand of punk rock but also includes a new, more commercial sound. Their previous album, Kunst Rock, was very “deep” and “arty” and in order to attract a wider audience, they needed to expand on their musical styling which amusingly includes dance as well as soft rock reminiscent of Coldplay. Or rather, the version of Coldplay we instinctively roll our eyes at. You know, the tree-hugging, hipster-friendly, free-trade loving Coldplay that makes any non-Coldplay fan twitch with annoyance.
After the opening song, entitled Do You Speak Dance?, Otto (Daniel Tobias) informs us that during his Google search of dance music, he discovers that dance tracks which contain 180 beats per minute are too fast and do not encourage dancing with other people. However, 130 beats per minute, the perfect amount, does encourage dancing with other people which is why Do You Speak Dance? contains that exact amount. Otto is very precise, detailed and purposeful in his creation of music and can be rather intense in trying to achieve the image of being a “rock star”. Astrid (Claire Bartholomew), on the other hand, lives the rock star life with little to no effort. She drinks, indulges in promiscuous behaviour and does not give an F what you think of her. Of course, therein lays the problem. Otto wants what Astrid so effortlessly has and goes, much to the audiences’ delight, to silly extremes in order to demonstrate that he is a serious and credible rock star. For example, Otto encourages the audience to “make good choices” in their lives via a song of the same name. It is an acoustic track that reveals Otto’s new found adoration for Bono and Chris Martin but leaves Astrid furious that Otto would subject Die Roten Punkte’s fans to such rubbish and accurately accuses him of selling out. See, Otto does not actually adhere to the lifestyle he is preaching about in his new song, he just wants it to appear as though he is which infuriates Astrid. But what about Astrid? Does she care even about music anymore or does she just like the lifestyle it affords her? In the end, the duo realise that they both have, in fact, “sold out”, just in very different ways.
The comedy duo comprising Die Roten Punkte are masters of their craft. Daniel Tobias does not just play the character of Otto Dot, he IS Otto Dot. His body language, mannerisms, and social awkwardness actually make you forget that Otto is a character. Both comedians are very natural in the way they communicate with each other on stage and in the way they communicate with the audience. The best part of any Die Roten Punkte shows is how they incorporate, and rely, on audience participation. While both siblings often pick someone out of the audience to flirt with (in order to make the other “sibling” jealous) they also use audience interaction to create excitement and even more absurdity. During this show, a hilarious fruit-themed song describing a date Otto went on, had some audience members holding pieces of fruit which deemed them the “leader” of a particular section of the audience. In order to win the (non-existent) competition, the fruit holding audience member must ensure that the other audience members scream and shout at the appropriate times by shaking their piece of fruit chaotically and yelling as loudly as they can. An audience member in my section, wielding an avocado, was so amped up I do not think she actually needed anyone else to scream and shout, she was perfect on her own. The show’s venue, The Historic Theatre at the Cultch, was the ideal setting for such an interactive show due to its always welcoming, relaxing and intimate ambience. Exhibiting all of those attributes at one time is not as an easy feat for your average Vancouver theatre but The Cultch manages to do this each and every time, no matter the show.
That being said, the true reason Die Roten Punkte – Eurosmash! is such an enjoyable theatre event is obviously due to its creators. The hilarity produced by these extremely gifted comedians is often compared to that of Spinal Tap, and rightly so. Tobias and Bartholomew’s ability to develop these characters, which you root and care for, while also maintaining a consistently entertaining theatre experience, demonstrates not only their talent but also their appreciation for their fans. It is no wonder why they have such a loyal and dedicated fan base.