Is the comedy gene something you can inherit from your parents? If so then Siblings: Acting Out sisters Maddy and Marina Bye have been blessed with it in spades. If you didn’t know, they are the daughters of comedian, writer, producer, author (and other notable achievements), Ruby Wax and her equally talented hubby Ed Bye. These girls are a bit bizarre, more than a little weird, totally absurd but there’s no denying they are funny and definitely good at what they do. Their humour may be a tad removed from what mum and dad are famous for, but it fits right into the madness of fringe theatre.
Just naturally funny.
The double act is played out with one serious sister (Marina) and the silly one who is the brunt of the jokes (Maddy) but that doesn’t mean Marina is the ‘straight’ guy/girl. They are equally funny in different ways with much of their humour coming from the dynamics of sibling rivalry. A ‘classically trained actress’ versus a ‘Gaulier- trained clown’ produce moments of utter mayhem as the siblings act out various scenes, introduce us to their crazy characters and draw us into their strange world.
They must have been messing around like this for years, putting on shows for their host of comedy greats who happened to pop round for a cuppa, and now they are living the dream, performing their skits, sketches and scenes for a paying public. How many of us who have sisters, after a bit of (maybe) drunken hilarity wish someone could have seen just how funny we were? Not many have the confidence or the talent to take it to the next stage but these sisters have. There’s humour, but like all siblings, there’s a dangerous edge to their relationship and they exploit that to their advantage; taking us down the road that all sisters travel, where you can give each other a hug one minute and stab her in the back with your Barbie the next.
There are elastic bands, wind machines, fake snow and other props and a hilarious excerpt from home video of little Maddy as a zoned-out ballerina that keeps the audience hooting with laughter from the start. The annoying, chanting yoga duo sketch is genius, as is the self-penned Pinter play. This is silly humour with a clever twist that’s perfect for the millennial generation.
In a saturated market place such as the Edinburgh Fringe, people go to great lengths to sell their shows, and if you can use nepotism to your advantage, why wouldn’t you? That’s why it’s totally refreshing that these sisters don’t resort to nepotism to sell their show. They have absorbed the gene but they’re not boasting about it. They are just naturally funny. Go and see it because these sisters are doing it for themselves. And a paying audience.