It’s important to go into Die Roten Punkte with a few things in mind.
First, Spoleto has categorized the performance by Otto and Astrid Rot as musical theater. This was not some last resort because they seemingly fit nowhere else; it is a very accurate designation. You may not realize it at first, but the band’s show has a plot. Details that Otto and Astrid — who may not be brother or sister, or even German, in real life — initially share will come full circle by the end. So while this is in no way a traditional musical (though it can draw comparisons to Hedwig and the Angry Inch), it is — or at least it felt — scripted. I wouldn’t even want to go into details because I’m afraid I’d be giving too much away. This aspect may detract from the band at some points, but they manage to keep enough of the show fresh and on the fly to make up for it.
Another important note: I was seated near children, but I wouldn’t classify this as a kid-friendly program. Never mind that it was past their bedtime (or at least the bedtime I had when I was their age), but I’m sure these young’uns weren’t sure what was so funny when Astrid played the wildly orgasmic “Oh My God, Yeah.”
Third, don’t leave during the show. You might get called out on it. The most visibly improvised moments were when someone left the auditorium for whatever reason. Do the same and Astrid might call you a dickhead.
Finally, try to get some seats in the direct center of the theater. It may be difficult, but don’t take your eyes off either of them when they perform their songs. The band’s facial expressions and purposeful pauses draw some of the best laughs. It’s not often that you get to see performers use instruments as a method of comedy like the Rots do. They’ve taken their sketch so far that they’ve written multiple albums worth of entertaining material to keep the joke alive. It’s not hard to appreciate this kind of dedication, and it’s a nice break to watch a rock band after more serious classical music or jazz performances.
The major issue with Die Roten Punkte’s show really wasn’t the fault of the band. I just wish it hadn’t taken place at the Memminger. Real punk music is played in small, sweaty venues. This was the kind of thing that the audience should have been standing for. We should have been free to pogo just as high as Otto and drink beers and rock the fuck out. That’s hard to do in stadium seating.
The siblings (or pseudo-siblings) put on a fun show, and there aren’t many chances at Spoleto to have that much fun. Yes, you may be privy to extraordinary cultural experiences nightly, but really, how often are they fun? See one of these moments of artistic achievement and then stop by Die Roten Punkte’s late-night show.
Spoleto Festival USA. Die Roten Punkte. Fri., June 4, 11 p.m. and Sat., June 5, 10 p.m. Memminger Auditorium.
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