photo: Christine Fiedler
The brainchild of performer-musicians Daniel Tobias and Clare Bartholomew, Die Roten Punkte are a brother-sister pop punk band whose often very funny show is finally in New York this weekend, following much-awarded engagements at Fringe Festivals in Canada. It's easy to see why this show won Best Comedy at last year's Victoria Fringe - the duo have a gift for comic delivery and for improvisation within the "concert" format of the show, and their mock-serious solidly-crafted send-ups of new wave music are often hilarious. (The funniest has the two dancing the robot to a Krafterwerk-like beat made only of cowbell, three repeating synth notes and a drum machine.) The show's narrative, which exists mostly in the banter between the duo's songs, may be slight - Astrid, just out of rehab, eventually gets a talking-to from her "straight edge" brother Otto because she's been spiking her Vitamin Water with booze all night - but the slightness doesn't matter: the show's disarming humor comes not from the narrative but from character, and Tobias and Bartholomew have honed Otto and Astrid to perfection. The audience didn't seem to initially know what to make of the show - it took a couple of songs before there was clear permission to laugh - but after that it was practically a party. I doubt there was anyone there who hadn't been made a fan.