Otto and Astrid Rot
(© Christina Fiedler)
Otto and Astrid Rot
(© Christina Fiedler)
{Editor's note: This review originally ran on June 1 after the group played Charlotte, North Carolina.]

A visit to Google is enough to dispel most of the PR hype surrounding Die Roten Punkte, now at the Barrow Street Theatre as part of their international tour. But does it really matter if Astrid and Otto Rot are truly Berlin-born siblings orphaned at a young age who have risen to become household names in Europe or not, when their show is truly hilarious.

The duo, whose name is translated to The Red Dots, have gained renown for their unique mixture of rock and role play. Otto is a devout, straight-edge punkster and a passionate proponent of veggies, virginity, and herbal tea. Astrid, on the other hand, has found her escapades repeatedly in the tabloids, and a recent stint in rehab doesn't seem to be hindering her alcohol dependency.

Still, we must sympathize with both Rots because their parents were run over by a train -- or devoured by a lion. As a result, the intensity of the siblings' attachment to one another is only slightly stronger than their antipathy; and the ups and downs of the Rots' relationship is in full evidence during their concert.

Between songs and during songs, the sibling's squabbles spill out into the audience, with Astrid no less jealous of the woman her brother fancies as Otto is hostile toward the guy his sister comes on to. (The show isn't tightly scripted, as a group who arrived late on opening night in the duo's recent stop in Charlotte quickly discovered.)

Still, the group's music is not to be underestimated, and the playlist is impressively delivered by chunky Astrid (who plays a child-sized drum kit) and athletic Otto (who plays various guitars). The selection ranges from the techno "Ich Bin Nicht Ein Roboter (I Am a Lion)" to "Astrid's Drinking Song" and the frankly orgasmic "Oh My God, Yeah."

And audience participation isn't optional -- as one stands for choruses, swinging one's arms in drinking-song style, divided into five sections, each representing a non-alcoholic beverage. The sad demise of the elder Rots is memorialized in art-rock fashion with "The 4:15 to Spandau Will Not Run Today," and the audience encounters another learning curve with "Rock Bang," having to learn two hand signs. But it's all so much fun, no one will mind.