If the White Stripes mated with Laurel and Hardy in the Black Forest, the fruits of the union might be something like Die Roten Punkte. This musical-comedy odd couple, whose name translates as ‘the red dots’, were first seen in Australia seven years ago, though the characters are supposedly from outside Berlin: Astrid, on drums, rocks a kind of Goth geisha look and has her feet on the ground while her less worldy, more idealistic baby brother Otto is a kind of post-punk Pierrot with a guitar. Their original songs, bearing traces of Eno and the Pixies and about anything from aspirational dinosaurs to fingers in asses, are stomping headbangers when they get a chance – but a good proportion are stopped in their tracks by wardrobe malfunctions or thoroughly credible sibling squabbling. Luckily, the duo’s comic interaction is as plausible and satisfying as their music, rich in back-story (notably unpacked in a rock-opera childhood memoir) and nuanced in performance; their natural rapport with each other is complemented by different but equally assured styles of playing off the audience. The show’s emotional anchor is a sincere feel for the precarious value of family relationships, from vanishing parents and sibling codependence to phantom pregnancies and unsympathetic guardians. A wall-of-sound arrangement built up from live-sampled loops of the pair’s aggravated bickering is as good an expression as any of how all the petty frustrations of dealing with our nearest and dearest can, almost without our realising it, add up to something rather lovely.
For more from Ben Walters in Edinburgh, follow him @not_television