Fringe female comedy duos: Siblings
- Brian Donaldson
- 31 July 2018
This article is from 2018
Maddy and Marina Bye recall their early days as toddlers and later life as a sister act
The Bye sisters say hello to another year at the Fringe with a show in which they're Acting Out. First up they tell us about their ideal comedy partners (other than each other, of course) and what they'd be doing if they weren't in showbusiness.
What one thing do you remember most about how you met each other?
Maddy: When I first met Marina, she was bald, dribbling and had pooed herself at the ripe age of 0 years old. She was a fresh out the womb microbe who, on that day, created my place as the middle child in the family and I never forgave her. From there, memories consist of her little red boot kicking my two front teeth out, playing copious amounts of Mario Kart and walking in on her cutting her own fringe into the bath until she had a spiky little mullet.
Marina: I remember Maddy as a small elf with fluffy hair that stood on end. She was cripplingly shy and had no interest in speaking to anyone, only invisible creatures inside her head: we were all violently concerned. I remember lots of my childhood memories consisting of Maddy throwing me around because I was chubby so could bounce off walls. She would also do strange things like feed me extra spicy nachos in the middle of the sea so I threw up profusely. Intentional? We will never know but ever since, I can't go on boats.
What's the best thing about working with the other one?
Maddy: Marina and I used to play characters in the back seat of the car to make long journeys go faster. Whenever we saw someone who was worthy of an impression we would play them for days and days. Working together now feels exactly the same. It is so much fun to work with your real sister; maybe because of the genes, maybe because of the hours and hours, and years and years of being stuck together. I've never been able to connect with anyone else on that level on stage. We are constantly bouncing off each other and, not to toot her horn, but nobody makes me laugh more than her.
Marina: Maddy's ability to flail around on stage to the point where the audience actually applauds her, baffles me. She is not afraid to completely humiliate herself and that means there is no limit to our comedy. Overall though, our instinct as sisters really pays off on stage. We can finish each other's sentences effortlessly and follow each other's tangents which sometimes becomes the highlight of the show.
What's the worst thing about working with the other one?
Maddy: There is something very scary Pleasantville about the thought of two sisters who don't have sibling fights over who stole whose jumper or who is using up all the WiFi, especially when doing a festival together. But as siblings, you are not allowed to not be friends in the end.
Marina: She panics like my dad. Little emotion but moves very fast.
If your comedy partner hadn't become part of a double act, what do you think she would have done with her life?
Maddy: I essentially brought Marina into the comedy scene after her graduation at drama school and the beginning of her very serious acting career. If it wasn't for me, Marina would probably be famous and doing real Shakespeare at the Globe rather than having 50-miles-an-hour wind blown into her face by me at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Marina: Maddy would have joined the circus and met a long-term lover out there called Demon. He was rugged and tall which was ideal for her being so small. They would get married and have medium-height children which would make Maddy and Demon happy forever.
If your current comedy partner was suddenly unable to work with you ever again, which famed comedian would you headhunt to replace them?
Maddy: Based on personality, accent, hair, flair, projection, thespiness: Joanna Lumley. Not only is she a comedy legend and one of the funniest women in the whole wide world, Marina is so similar to her, like a floaty thesp, that nobody would know the difference. Second choice, Bill Bailey.
Marina: Noel Fielding: they have the same fluffy hair so it would be close enough.
Siblings: Acting Out, Underbelly George Square, 4–27 Aug (not 14), 6.40pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Previews 1–3 Aug, £6.50.