Family plot: performers and authors that have made their art a family affair

Family Plot

Beth Vyse as Olive Hands / credit: Idil Sukan

There may be a reason why the chemistry between some people on stage seems almost too natural

Last year, Trygve Wakenshaw beguiled audiences with his toddler son Phineas. Slotting into that role this time around is Beth Vyse with her real baby son Henry, as she plays fictional semi-celeb Olive Hands who is making one last desperate attempt to get back on daytime TV. Grown-up kid and journo Rebecca Wilcox appears with Esther Rantzen in a reflection on her mum's showbiz life, while Philadelphia uncle and niece magician double-act John and Claire Lenahan dabble in quick-witted and noisy conjuring in Loud and Louder.

Paul Merton and his wife Suki Webster are part of the Impro Chums, while Helen Rutter and hubbie Rob Rouse play a couple going through a tumultuous period in The Ladder. Over at the Book Festival, more married couples abound with Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman morphing into one pseudonymous person, Ambrose Parry, to pen a new crime-writing novel, while wedded pair Charlotte and Adam Guillain discuss magic, giants and jellybeans as part of the children's programme. To mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth, his daughter Zindzi and great-grandchildren Zazi and Ziwelene will be on stage to discuss his 27 years in prison.

Sibling rivalries may be spilling onto the stage as identical twins and Aussie musical comics Benjamin and James Stevenson ask us to Spot the Difference, while Alexandra and Kate Donnachie discuss growing up and eating disorders in theatre work 3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle. Nicola and Rosie Dempsey become embittered musical comedy duo Flo & Joan, and Maddy 'n' Marina Bye do their absurdist sketch show thing in Siblings: Acting Out.

In the circus world, Ethiopian brothers Bibi and Bichu Tesfamariam return in Circus Abyssinia, and two siblings called You and Me fling themselves about in acrobatics show Sisters, while back at Charlotte Square Gardens Isabel and Imogen Greenberg discuss Greek goddess Athena. And just for the record, darkly comedic duo of Sisters: On Demand are not related. Indeed, neither of them are even female.

3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle

Alexandra and Kate Donnachie The show pieces together Alexandra and Kate Donnachie's sometimes heartbreaking but often hilarious memories of growing up together and managing their close bond when older sister, Alexandra, developed a severe eating disorder. When Alexandra (finally) decided to ask Kate what that time was…

Underbelly Med Quad, Edinburgh

Tue 21 Aug

Jersey

£9 (£8)

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Wed 22 Aug

Jersey

£9 (£8)

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Thu 23 Aug

Jersey

£9 (£8)

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

…and 4 more dates until 27 Aug

Beth Vyse as Olive Hands: The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

  • 2 stars

Heroes of the Fringe The mother and baby show, like you've never seen before! She's tried everything to get back on daytime TV, but she's never gone this far before… Britain's number two in the morning, leopard-clad daytime presenter Olive Hands returns to the Fringe, and this time she thinks she's cracked it!

Heroes @ Monkey Barrel, Edinburgh

Tue 21 Aug

Monkey Barrel 2

£5

2 for 1 Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Wed 22 Aug

Monkey Barrel 2

£5

2 for 1 Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Thu 23 Aug

Monkey Barrel 2

£5

2 for 1 Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

…and 3 more dates until 26 Aug

Chris Brookmyre & Marisa Haetzman

Meet Scotland’s newest crimewriting partnership. Novelist Chris Brookmyre's storytelling genius meets consultant anaesthetist Marisa Haetzman's PhD research into Edinburgh's history of medical innovation to shine a fictional light on the shadows of the city's 19th century underworld. The Way of All Flesh, written under…

Charlotte Square Gardens, Edinburgh

Sun 26 Aug

Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

£12 (£10) / 0845 373 5888

Part of Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams

Underbelly and Bibi and Bichu The smash hit of 2017 returns! An unashamedly joyful mix of astonishing stunts and enchanted adventure, Circus Abyssinia follows the journey of two Ethiopian brothers whose dream of joining the circus became a reality. Plunged into a world of daredevil wonders, they encounter a host of…

Underbelly Circus Hub, Edinburgh

Tue 21 Aug

The Lafayette

£14 (£13)

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Wed 22 Aug

The Lafayette

£14 (£13)

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Thu 23 Aug

The Lafayette

£16 (£15)

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

…and 2 more dates until 25 Aug

Flo & Joan: Alive on Stage

  • 4 stars

Avalon Promotions Following a sell-out run of their critically acclaimed 2017 show The Kindness of Stranglers, musical comedy duo and sisters Flo & Joan return to Edinburgh with a new hour of their dark and witty songs. ‘These intricately crafted, flawlessly performed numbers will have you howling with laughter one…

Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Tue 21 Aug

Cabaret Bar

£11 (£10) / 0131 556 6550

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Wed 22 Aug

Cabaret Bar

£11 (£10) / 0131 556 6550

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Thu 23 Aug

Cabaret Bar

£11 (£10) / 0131 556 6550

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

…and 3 more dates until 26 Aug

Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

Fri 24 Aug

QueenDome

£12 (£11) / 0131 556 6550

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Sat 25 Aug

QueenDome

£12 (£11) / 0131 556 6550

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

John and Claire Lenahan – Loud & Louder

Ingenious Fools Prepare for loud and get ready for louder with some shouty thrown in for good measure. You will be amazed as this fantastical duo thrill your senses with a seamless, seam-bursting blend of comedy, magic, escapology, mind reading, cannibalism and lion-taming (pending permission from Edinburgh Zoo).

Just The Tonic at the Caves, Edinburgh

Tue 21 Aug

Just the Fancy Room

£5 / 0131 556 5375

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Wed 22 Aug

Just the Fancy Room

£5 / 0131 556 5375

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Thu 23 Aug

Just the Fancy Room

£5 / 0131 556 5375

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

…and 3 more dates until 26 Aug

Magic, Giants and Jellybeans with Adam Guillain & Charlotte Guillain

Step into amazing stories with Adam and Charlotte Guillain in this lively interactive storytelling event. There will be costumes, puppets and silly songs galore as you join George on his search for a real giant with the latest book in the George's Amazing Adventures series, Jellybeans for Giants. Plus, meet the characters…

Charlotte Square Gardens, Edinburgh

Tue 21 Aug

Baillie Gifford Imagination Lab

£5 / 0845 373 5888

Part of Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Siblings: Acting Out

Maddy and Marina Bye with Mandy Ward Artist Management After a sell-out show at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017, part-time character comedians and full-time sisters Maddy and Marina Bye are coming back for another bite of the cherry, this time with Gaulier-trained clowning (no pie), intensely serious acting (some pie) and a…

Underbelly George Square, Edinburgh

Tue 21 Aug

The Wee Coo

£9 (£8) / 08445 458252

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Wed 22 Aug

The Wee Coo

£9 (£8) / 08445 458252

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Thu 23 Aug

The Wee Coo

£9 (£8) / 08445 458252

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

…and 4 more dates until 27 Aug

Sisters

Assembly Festival and The 7 Fingers An everlasting spell. An impossible quest. Two sisters named You and Me. A prince named Him. An audience named Them. Staying true to the ethos of previous shows by The 7 Fingers, Sisters takes us on an experimental and human voyage. Sisters explores, in all of its beauty and…

Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

Tue 21 Aug

Music Hall

£16 (£14) / 0131 220 4348

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe & Canada at Edinburgh Festivals.

Wed 22 Aug

Music Hall

£16 (£14) / 0131 220 4348

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe & Canada at Edinburgh Festivals.

Thu 23 Aug

Music Hall

£16 (£14) / 0131 220 4348

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe & Canada at Edinburgh Festivals.

…and 3 more dates until 26 Aug

Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Mon 20 Aug

Pleasance That

£7.50 (£6.50) / 0131 556 6550

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Tue 21 Aug

Pleasance That

£7.50 (£6.50) / 0131 556 6550

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Wed 22 Aug

Pleasance That

£9 (£8) / 0131 556 6550

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

…and 4 more dates until 26 Aug

The Stevenson Experience: Spot the Difference

  • 3 stars

RBM Comedy in association with A-List Entertainment As seen on the Comedy Channel. A brand-new show of uproarious musical comedy from Australia's favourite bickering identical twins. Settle in for hilarious songs that have seen them compared to Flight of the Conchords and Tim Minchin, mixed with their trademark sibling…

Assembly George Square, Edinburgh

Mon 20 Aug

Five

£8.50 / 0131 623 3030

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Tue 21 Aug

Five

£8.50 / 0131 623 3030

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Wed 22 Aug

Five

£8.50 / 0131 623 3030

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

…and 4 more dates until 26 Aug

Paul Merton's Impro Chums

TV comedy favourite Merton and his talented group of 'impro chums' (read: show offs) magically weave laughs from audience suggestions.

The Ladder

Rob Rouse and Helen Rutter Starring husband and wife, Rob Rouse (Upstart Crow - BBC2, 8 Out Of 10 Cats - Channel 4) and Helen Rutter (Coronation Street - ITV, Playing with Fire - National Theatre) and based on a true story. Clare's day goes from bad to worse when she gets stuck up a ladder. Delirious with pain, events…

Esther Rantzen: That's Life!

Gilded Balloon and Avalon Promotions present… Broadcasting legend Dame Esther Rantzen and her daughter, journalist Rebecca Wilcox, discuss careers and family ties. Get up close with one of our national treasures as she shares anecdotes from over 50 years in broadcasting. The star of That's Life, Strictly Come Dancing…

My Grandad, Mandela

To mark the centenary of former South African President Nelson Mandela's birth, his two great-grandchildren (aged 6 and 7) have asked their grandmother, Mandela's daughter Zindzi, 15 questions about the man the world remembers as an inspirational leader and peacemaker. Through her answers, they learn about the life of the…

Greek Goddess with Isabel Greenberg & Imogen Greenberg

Prepare to be amazed as you uncover the ancient myths surrounding one of the most fearless Greek goddesses, Athena. Isabel and Imogen Greenberg have created a stunning graphic novel about this inspirational, strong and determined figure. Today, they take you on a journey through ancient Greece before you get colouring and…

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