reviews and recommendations

Siblings: Acting Out

After making it to the 2017 Funny Women Regional Finals, Siblings enjoyed a sell-out run for their debut Edinburgh hour last year. It’s easy to see why. Maddy and Marina Bye appear to have comedy running through their veins. Perhaps to be expected, given that they are Ruby Wax’s daughters, but the girls are performers in their own right. A couple of years ago, Marina graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama, while Maddy graduated from renowned clowning school Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Paris.

Now, in Siblings: Acting Out the ‘classically trained’ actress Marina has had enough of her sister Maddy clowning around. The pair share a tantalising chemistry on stage, turning the simmering resentment of love-hate sibling rivalry into a fine art. Anyone with a sister or brother will recognise the family tensions that can so quickly escalate to breaking point. Sketches range from daft to the even dafter, for this isn’t a show that has any political points to make, it’s a glorious celebration of silliness. When the clothing rail unexpectedly collapses, and the girls struggle not to corpse, it’s clear there’s ludicrous fun being had on stage. You can really see the girls as squabbling brats and Marina and Maddy clearly still enjoy playing dress up as they transform into a stereotypical Yorkshireman and his dowdy wife, two teachers with fake bellies and moustaches, and a recurring sketch featuring two Absolutely Fabulous-esque yummy mummies trying to out-do each other on their latest grotesque surgical enhancement boasts.

If you saw last year’s debut hour you may feel a tad disappointed with repeated gags, particularly a video of Maddy as a little girl. However, the hilarious footage never gets old and is exactly the sort of relentless, torturous embarrassment that a sibling would delight in repeating. The real magic moments come when the girls play ‘themselves’. Vying for attention, Maddy takes any opportunity to upstage Marina. The clowning studies have clearly not been wasted as she demonstrates bold physical comedy other performers wouldn’t dare attempt. There is a risky climax that relies on audience participation but Maddy and Marina appear to be in full ‘mind control’ of their crowd.

The girls clearly have a bright future ahead so catch them live now so you can say you saw them before they made it big. If it’s smart and silly sketch comedy you’re after, don’t hesitate to see Siblings.

★★★★

Siblings: Acting Out is at 18:40 at Underbelly, The Wee Coo (George Square) until 27th August. For tickets and more information click here! 

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