Amy catches up with Marina and Maddy Bye, IRL sisters and comedians, who are heading to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer with their show – Siblings: Siblage.
Hi Marina & Maddy, how are you feeling ahead of the Fringe?
Hello! Thanks very much for having us! It’s been a hell of a ride getting prepared for this Fringe. We’ve written a whole new show with lots of different sketches and characters. We won’t reveal too much but we have made something a bit different to what we have done before which we are VERY excited about. In that way it’s very exciting with a sprinkle of crushing nerves. However, more than ever the excitement is rife because we’ve missed the Fringe for two years and it feels crazy / amazing to be going back again.
You are sisters IRL, what’s it like working together?
It’s both incredibly easy and incredibly hard. It’s easy because we can be as brutal as we want with each other. Sounds intense but it means we cut out the polite negotiation and get right to the point in half the time. Obviously as sisters working together, we do fall out from time to time.. But then we go have Chinese take away with our parents the next day so we can never fall out for real.
We also know each other so well (we can speak at the same time) so we can bounce off each other and know pretty naturally when to give the other space and take the joke home when we are on stage. There is 0 competition, we always want each other to win. It’s also double funny when the other one fails at a joke. It only makes us laugh more… its evil… but it’s so funny.
You’ve had very successful runs at the Fringe previously, what can people expect from you this time?
That’s very kind. We have always had such a good time at the Fringe. It’s ridiculously hard and exhausting doing a show 25 times in a row with gigs and endless flyering but also such a feat.. it’s sick but we love it. We have also had such good audiences and sold out lots and lots of shows the last years which always makes us scream and cry with happiness.
This year we have actually made quite a different show to what we usually have done. We have had the time to look at what works with our comedy, to really hone in on what ‘Siblings’ is and we think we have made something pretty special. we’ve been told at previews it could be ‘our best show yet’ which is definitely what we are going for! Rest assured though, it very much does have the same Siblings madness in the characters, lots of absurdity, a ton of clowning, one very cocky actor, lots of songs and of course.. organised choreographed dance.
We really want to make a silly show for people to come in and escape from everything in the outside world and laugh for an hour. Hopefully when people see it they will be pumped up and feel good. We want you to run out the room and immediately join a flash mob.
What inspired Siblings: Siblage?
We started writing Siblage in 2019 for the Fringe that never was.. Obviously, over the 2 years of ‘live comedy cancelled land’, the show has changed a lot. We weirdly ended up realising that a load of the characters we were encountering and laughing most at are all of the people you see in a school! Whether it’s aggressive and terrifying teachers, or the sad soccer coach from every American film who dreams of greater things.
It was then that Siblage quickly became ‘a school for talented Siblings’. A mad place, set nowhere, in no time zone, filled with very eccentric people. We also wanted to transport the audience to their childhood which makes them feel quite silly and mischievous. That’s what we like the most.
Why do you think the Edinburgh Fringe is so big for comedians?
Interesting question because we think over the last 2 years things have changed a lot in the comedy world. Not only were we all told to ‘retrain’ (Maddy tried really hard to work at a zoo but they wouldn’t let her) but the whole idea of the Fringe sort of changed. We saw so many more comedians breaking through online and shows being made in other places, which were spectacular. The Fringe always had this feeling of ‘you HAVE to be there or you wont ever make it!!!’. Now things are changing. The energy is still there that it feels important to showcase your work there and to be in the hub of comedy for a month but it is nice to know there are lots of other opportunities now and if you cant bring your work to the Edinburgh Fringe, it doesn’t at all mean what it used to where it felt so necessary. Everyone is paying attention to that and that’s a good move in my opinion, it opens more doors to more brilliant performers.
This year, it feels so much more about the sense of community there. It is a nice feeling to know that we get to see each other and support each other. Doing it every day for the month anywhere is also an amazing opportunity to fully exercise the muscle of comedy. It’s almost like a sport and the more you do it the more you get the chance to refine it. It means you really get the swing of it and even start to learn how to twist and mould your show so it’s tailored to each specific audience.
Do you have any tips for people heading to the fringe for the first time – performers or viewers?
Top tip is go and see Siblings! (they laugh). But seriously ALSO definitely go to shows you wouldn’t normally see. There is literally a show for everyone and it’s the best place to explore.
For performers.. This was hard for us to learn but try to take the experience with a touch of lightness and see everyday as a rehearsal. It will always be different each night and that’s the beauty of it. Every day can throw you curveballs but just stay confident in your work and what you have created. One of the best things that happened in our first year doing the Fringe was the amount of friends we made. So many international acts as well, who we have stayed friends with for life. You’re all in the same boat so you immediately have something in common. Your fellow performers will be your biggest allies and support. Come hang out with us!
What is it like to perform at the Fringe?
It’s like riding an insane and hilarious roller coaster in pitch black, inside a suitcase on a baggage carousel. .
It is so scary but also fun to have a whole load of different people watching your show everyday. We do get nervous, Maddy has to sit on the floor cross legged in silence, usually in quite stupid places, for about an hour before every show while Marina runs to the bathroom while the audience are actually in their seats but it’s an experience unlike any other. You get to really test your work which is unparalleled.
What is the best and worst thing about performing at the Fringe?
A lot a lot… Too many to say. One of the best things is when you start to explore your show on stage to different people. That’s a wild experience because you kind of delve into the unknown but it can feel very rewarding. Also Red Box Noodles.
One of the worst things, previously we have experienced starting to dip around mid way through the Fringe but adrenaline is a beautiful thing that can carry you through. Also probably flyering in the rain is the worst.
What shows will you be seeing whilst you’re in Edinburgh?
TOO many to choose. There are thousands of amazing shows heading to the Fringe this year we will be running around watching everything! A few off the top of the head are Jordan Brookes, Crybabies, Seayonce, Britney, Diane Chorley, Reuben Kaye, Stamptown, Luke Rollason, Sami Abu Wardeh, Jordan Gray, Mark Silcox, Tom Mayhew, Jen Ives, Josh Glanc, Sophie Duker, Helen Bauer, Nina Conti TOO MANY MORE!
With a huge number of comedy shows to choose from at the Fringe, tell people why they should come to yours!
It’s uplifting and very silly. We hope it really will be an hour of escapism from these past couple of quite horrible years. It will be a chance to leave the world and laugh, go back to school as a grown up and leave taking life a little less seriously.
We have worked on this show with this in mind. 2 sisters who want to take everyone out of it, entertain and be completely weird.
There are some great comedy double acts around – what makes you unique?
We definitely think the fact that we are related makes us a bit unique. We have been doing comedy with each other, honestly, since we came out of the womb. It’s so weird for us to look back at videos of ourselves as kids basically playing the exact same characters we now do professionally on stage.
We are a sketch group but we also have had one of us study at Drama School for 3 years and the other at Clown School in Paris at the same time. We have definitely put our years of training together in Siblings.. and it makes something REALLY quite weird and special. It’s basically what happens when you put one actor and one clown together, AND they are related.
You use a variety of comedy styles within your shows – what’s your favourite?
It’s hard to choose! we are a ‘sketch show’ but it’s not really the original form of sketch, it’s a lot more character comedy, we obviously have the acting and the clowning in there. This year we have somewhat also schlinked into the musical comedy scene! Yes, there are songs and the songs are rude.
And finally, where can people buy tickets to your shows and where do people find you on socials?
You can get tickets from the Pleasance website or the Edinburgh Fringe website here!
We have many socials!
ABOUT THE SHOW
Siblings: Siblage is on from the 3rd Aug 2022 – 29th Aug 2022
Venue: The Attic – Pleasance Courtyard